The effects of Hurricane Sandy in the United States were enhanced by the occurrence of some of the highest spring tides of the year. The track of Sandy resulted in a worse case scenario for storm surge conditions in coastal regions from New Jersey to Connecticut, including New York City. The slow movement of Sandy and persistent strong winds towards the coast (on the north side of the storm), combined with the storm surge occuring near the time of high tide, contributed to record tide levels for many locations along the Atlantic Coast. Sandy made landfall with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, and brought a record storm surge to New York City: a maximum of 12.65 ft (3.86 m) above normal tide levels was recorded at Kings Point on the western end of Long Island Sound, as well as record wave heights.
The researchers studied 9.7 million geo-located tweets, first nationally, and then focusing on two states hit hardest by the hurricane: New York and New Jersey. Using that data, the researchers were able to chart how proximity to the hurricane changed the volume of tweets, specifically those using keywords like “sandy” and “frankenstorm.” “At the peak of the disaster, event-related keywords rank higher and activity increases with proximity,” the researchers write.
Hurricane Sandy hit sewer system infrastructures across New Jersey and New York hard, causing an immediate public and environmental health threat through water contamination. 10 treatment plants in NYC reported discharges of partially treated or untreated sewage into local waterways. Although no official figures have been released for Hurricane Sandy, last year Hurricane Irene resulted in 43 million gallons of partially treated sewage into Long Island Sound after a mechanical failure. This toxic untreated sewage can be diluted and distributed quickly throughout waterways leading to widespread contamination.