9 Records Blown Away by Superstorm Sandy

NASA Goddard Photo and Video/CC BY 2.0

"We knew that this was going to be a very dangerous storm, and the storm has met our expectations," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a press conference on Monday evening – and meet them it did.

Although not quite a hurricane by the time she reached landfall in New York, superstorm Sandy stunned with her strength, size and tenacity, setting a striking number of records before moving on from the East Coast and marching her sassy self off to northern climes.

"There are no precedents for Sandy," Bill Read, former director of the National Hurricane Center told the Houston Chronicle, and indeed, the numbers prove the statement. Here's how Sandy has outdone the others, earning her the title as one of the record-breakingest storms in recorded history.

1. Strongest Hurricane to Make Landfall North of Cape Hatteras

With a record low barometric pressure of 27.76, Sandy was the strongest hurricane north of Cape Hatteras to ever make landfall. Although Hurricane Gladys of 1977 holds the overall record for the region at 27.73, she remained off the U.S. coast.

2. Largest Atlantic Hurricane on Record

She was a big girl. Sandy made the record books as the largest hurricane to have formed in the Atlantic Basin, according to the National Hurricane Center, reaching a truly impressive gale diameter of 1,000 miles.

3. Highest Storm Surge

The storm surge for New York City was expected to be around 8-10 feet, yet Sandy's strength and unusual angle worked to create a surge far surpassing estimates. The surge level at Battery Park was a whopping 13.88 feet at 9:24 p.m. Monday, out-surging Donna's efforts of 10.02 feet in 1960.

4. Highest Wave in New York Harbor

MTAPhotos/CC BY 2.0

The surf was up, and how. New York Harbor had a record-setting wave measuring 32.5-feet high, recorded by buoy #41048. The previous record was for a 25-foot wave kicked up by Hurricane Irene in 2011.

5. Most Debilitating Event Suffered by the New York Subway System

MTAPhotos/CC BY 2.0

With seven subway tunnels utterly deluged with water, the head of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Joe Lhota, said that the system had never faced a disaster as devastating as it has with Sandy. The storm flooded every main subway line, decimated power stations, and flooded rail yards and bus depots. Not only is the entire subway system shut down, but also the Metro-North and the Long Island railroads.

6. Largest Number of Power Outages Overall

Arlington County/CC BY 2.0

There is a staggering 8 million people without power, from South Carolina to Maine, beating hurricane Ike's outage numbers of 7.5 million. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said 2.4 million households in his state were without power Tuesday, twice the number left in the dark by Hurricane Irene last year.

As for New York, specifically: "This is the largest storm-related outage in our history," John Miksad, Con Edison senior vice president for electric operations, said in a company Twitter message Tuesday.

7. Most Rapid Instagramming Ever

© Meaghan O'Neill

There were nearly half a million photos uploaded with #Sandy tag on Instagram, and overall they registered a record number of image uploads Monday "at a rate of nearly 10 each second - with the hashtags #hurricanesandy, #sandy and #frankenstorm," the company said.

8. Longest Weather Related Shut-Down of the New York Stock Exchange in Over a Century

The last time the New York Stock Exchange ceased operation due to weather was in 1888, after a blizzard. Following a two-day shut-down, trading is expected to resume today.

9. Most Photoshopped Disaster Images Going Viral

Okay, we can't confirm this one, but have you ever seen so many doctored images and resultant cascade of memes in the name of a natural disaster? We're going to claim this one for the books as well.

With all of these wretched records, we can only hope this isn't a horrible harbinger of things to come.

Tags: Atlantic | Natural Disasters | New Jersey | New York City | New York State | Oceans | Weather

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