Study: Sandy caused record sea levels, $23 billion in damage in New York

Study: Sandy caused record sea levels, $23 billion in damage in New York
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Superstorm Sandy caused $23 billion in damage in New York state alone and delivered the highest water levels there on record, according to a new federal report.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said this week that the 2012 storm produced sea levels much higher than other historic storms to hit the New York region.

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Peak storm tides from Sandy were more than 9.5 feet above sea level, according to the agencies' report.

On average, those tides were about half a foot, or 9 percent, higher than those produced by a 1992 nor’easter, and 2.5 feet, or 48 percent, higher than those associated with tropical storm Irene, a weakened hurricane that hit the region in 2011.

The sea-level numbers are based on a sensor network the USGS deployed ahead of the storm. According to the agency, the storm “was the first time in recent memory, and record, that coastal water levels had reached the heights they attained in many places in the state of New York.”

Sandy caused $23 billion in damage in New York alone, with county-level damage worth between $380 million and $5.9 billion, according to the report.

Sandy killed 117 people, according to the Red Cross, and has been blamed for more than $50 billion in damage throughout the Northeast, making it one of the costliest storms in American history.