4:37 p.m., Oct. 31, 2012--The Office of the State Climatologist and the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS), both based at the University of Delaware, provided the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and the National Weather Service with weather, coastal flooding and stream flooding information for Delaware during Hurricane Sandy.
Delaware State Climatologist Daniel Leathers, a professor of geography at UD, and Kelvin Ramsey, a scientist at DGS, answered some questions about this major storm for UDaily. Timothy Targett, professor of marine biosciences, also responds to a question about marine life.
How does Hurricane Sandy compare to the infamous 1962 nor’easter that pounded the Delaware coast? Has there been another hurricane like it in recent history?
Dan Leathers: Sandy is quite unique in Delaware storm history. Sandy and the ’62 storm are quite different, although they had some similar effects. Flooding along the Delaware Atlantic coast was very bad in each. Sandy began as a tropical system and slowly changed to a mid-latitude cyclone. The ’62 storm in March of that year was a mid-latitude cyclone throughout its life cycle. Both were “blocked” from moving north by a high-pressure system to the north. Sandy actually made landfall, while the ’62 storm was always off the coast.
What has been most unusual about this storm, meteorologically speaking?
Dan Leathers: The most unusual thing about this storm was its track for this time of year. It is very unusual for any tropical system to turn west into the mid-Atlantic any time of the year (although it has happened). It is very unusual for a tropical system to come this far north and then turn west, as Sandy did, so late in the tropical sea