Lessons From Sandy

Nature’s fury was bad enough. But then came the ravages of human nature.

In the history of storms hitting America, Hurricane Sandy was unique. Meteorologists said it had no known precedent: Three separate storms collided, producing a megastorm that slammed a 1,000-mile stretch of America’s eastern seaboard. It was described as a “perfect storm,” a “Frankenstorm,” the “storm of the century.”

Its timing amplified the damage: The hurricane-force tidal surge coincided with monthly high tides, causing record floods that swamped flood barriers. Water inundated homes and wiped out roads, infrastructure and whole coastal communities. In New York and New Jersey, flooded subway systems were severely damaged. Hospitals became unusable. Schools closed. Airlines cancelled over 13,000 flights. Amtrak stopped all East Coast services. The governor of Connecticut shut down all state highways. Whole states got bombarded with several feet of snow.

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