Connie developed into a hurricane off the Cape Verde Islands on August 3, 1955. The storm moved west to west-northwest, gradually increasing in size and intensity. Connie passed 83 kilometres to the north of the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico. The following day, the hurricane moved northwestward some 270 to 740 kilometres east of the Bahamas. Connie drifted slowly toward the west-northwest and the west on August 9 and 10, then turned toward the north on the evening of August 10. Hurricane Connie set the stage for one of the most disastrous and costly floods of record in the northeastern United States. The hurricane’s slow movement on August 10 through August 12 resulted in heavy rainfall from North Carolina northward across the northeastern states to the interior of New England. The rains did not let up until the dying remnants of the hurricane had moved into the Great Lakes region. The rainfall amounted ranged upwards to 30 centimetres from the Chesapeake Bay area to extreme southern New York.
Hurricane Diane (August 7 to August 21, 1955)
On August 10, the disturbance that would become Diane was located northeast of the Leeward Islands. During the evening of the August 11, the storm curved abruptly from a northwest course and began moving toward the northeast, at the same time Diane was undergoing rapid intensification. Once back on the west-northwestward course, Diane continued to have a fairly regular movement, reaching the North Carolina coast on the August 17. When the centre passed very close to Wilmington on the morning of August 17, the highest sustained wind reported was 80 kilometres per hour (43 knots) at Hatteras, with gusts of 120 kilometres per hour (65 knots) at Wilmington.
While there was some damage along the coast, from storm surge and wave action, it was not extensive. As Diane moved inland and continued northward, the estimated damages began to rise. Damages were calculated at $754,706,000 with the majority occurring in New England.
Hurricane Edith (August 21 to September 3, 1955)
Hurricane Edith formed on August 24, in an easterly wave and moved on a smooth oblong curve passing well to the east of Bermuda on the 29th. Edith remained at sea and did not affect Canada.
Hurricane Flora (September 2 to September 9, 1955)
A weak circulation off the Cape Verde Islands on August 30, 1955 was the beginning of Hurricane Flora. Flora reached hurricane intensity on September 3, while located at approximately 21° North, 40° West. The hurricane moved along smooth track through the mid-Atlantic. Hurricane Flora remained at sea when it entered the Canadian Response Zone and had no affect on Canada.
Hurricane Ione (September 10 to September 24, 1955)
Ione developed in an easterly wave that passed through the Cape Verde Islands on September 6, and the circulation was still quite weak on the 11th. Ione, however, began to develop on this date and reached hurricane intensity on the night of the 14th and 15th. Ione then traveled a general northwesterly course toward the North Carolina coast. Ione was the third hurricane to pass through eastern North Carolina within a six-week period. After crossing the coastline, Ione re-curved to the northeast, passing out to sea south of Norfolk, Virginia. Total damage was estimated at $88,035,000 and there were seven deaths attributed to Ione.
Hurricane Katie (October 14 to October 21, 1955)
Hurricane Katie caused much damage in Hispaniola near the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It crossed into Hispaniola on the evening of October 16, 1955. Damage was estimated at $200,000 and there were 7 fatalities.
Hurricane Betsy, the strongest hurricane of the season, developed east of the Lesser Antilles on August 9. It crossed over Puerto Rico on the 12th and then re-curved east of the United States mainland. As the hurricane passed through the French Antilles damage was heavy and winds of 160 to 190 kilometres per hour (86 to 102 knots) swept over Guadeloupe and Marie Galante. The hurricane passed over Puerto Rico on the August 12 with gusts of 185 kilometres per hour (100 knots), resulting in 9 deaths. At San Salvador in the Bahamas, winds reached 212 kilometres per hour (114 knots) in gusts and 12.7 centimetres (5 inches) of rain fell in five hours. On August 14 and 15, Betsy began re-curving with a sharp deceleration in its forward movement. By the August 16, Betsy was moving towards the northeast, at this time the eye was becoming poorly defined. On August 18, the storm assumed more tropical characteristics and it moved due east on the 19 and 20, gradually losing its identity.
There were at least 27 deaths connected with Betsy and total damage was estimated at $35,880,000.
Tropical Storm Carla (September 5 to September 11, 1956)
Tropical Storm Carla formed north of eastern Cuba on September 5 and remained at sea during its life, which spanned from the September 5 until September 11. Carla had taken on extratropical characteristics by the afternoon of September 10.
Hurricane Flossie (September 21 to September 30, 1956)
Hurricane Flossie formed in a disturbance that moved across Guatemala from the Pacific. The storm reached hurricane intensity in the Gulf of Mexico on September 23 and crossed the Mississippi Delta near Pilottown, Louisiana, early on the 24th. It seems to have reached maximum intensity at Burrwood with a highest wind of 135 kilometres per hour (73 knots). Tides reached 2.25 metres above mean sea-level at Laguna Beach, Florida. Rainfall totaled 42 centimetres at Golden Meadow, Louisiana, and almost as much at Gulf Shores, Alabama. Three tornadoes were reported in northwestern Florida and near Savannah, Georgia. The storm became extratropical shortly after the centre passed out of Florida but it moved northeastward inside the coastline as an energetic storm until it passed out to sea near the Virginia Capes.
Total Damage in Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi was $24,774,000 and in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia it was $100,000. Deaths, mainly from plane and automobile accidents attributed to the Flossie, totaled 15.
An unnamed tropical storm developed on June 7th and 8th, 1957, in the south-central Gulf of Mexico. It moved northeast ward to Apalachee Bay. Winds of 40 miles per hour or more and tides of 2 to 3 feet above normal were experienced along the Florida Gulf coast from Sarasota to north of Cedar Keys. Exceptionally heavy rain accompanied the storm, with amounts of up to 15 inches reported at official stations and there were also some unofficial amounts of 19 inches. At least nine tornadoes or damaging wind storms were reported in northeastern Florida on the afternoon and evening of the 8th. Late on June 9th, the storm became extratropical off the Atlantic coast.
One small craft capsized in the Gulf of Mexico and five of the seven people onboard apparently drowned. Damage was about $52,000.
Hurricane Audrey (June 25 to June 29, 1957)
The existence of a tropical depression in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico was first observed on June 24, 1957. During the night the circulation intensified steadily, and the next day the storm, while remaining almost stationary in location, had become a full hurricane. Hurricane Audrey now began a steady northward movement, increasing in size and intensity. On the morning of June 27, Hurricane Audrey fiercely hit the coast near the Louisiana-Texas border. Hurricane Audrey became a severe extratropical storm as it moved northeastward through the Ohio Valley and New York Sate. Hurricane Audrey was one of the most destructive June hurricanes ever recorded in the United States. The exact number of dead will never be known, but five hundred fatalities appears to be a conservative estimate. The total damage has been estimated at $150,000,000, of which $120,000,000 was in Louisiana.
Hurricane Frieda (September 20 to September 27, 1957)
The circulation that developed into this storm began on September 20, 1957. Hurricane Frieda spent its life at sea and was of hurricane intensity only a few hours on the morning of September 25. After becoming extratropical, Frieda continued rapidly northeastward, with gradually decreasing intensity, and passed across Newfoundland on the night of the September 26.
No deaths or property damage were associated with this storm.
Tropical Storm Becky (August 8 to August 17, 1958)
Becky was the second tropical storm of the 1958 season. It was first identified on August 11, while located halfway between Puerto Rico and the Cape Verde Islands. On the August 7, the tropical depression began moving in a westward direction that continued until the 9th. Tropical Storm Becky could be followed either as a storm or a disturbance over a long track from the Cape Verde Islands to north of Puerto Rico and then, after re-curving, well off the east coast of the United States.
Although the hurricane force squalls were reported briefly in the northeastern semicircle on August 14, Becky never reached full hurricane intensity. By August 15, Becky had degenerated into an area of squalls with little, or no cyclonic patterns. Late on the 16th, Becky moved into an old frontal zone and became extratropical.
Hurricane Cleo (August 11 to August 22, 1958)
Hurricane Cleo, which moved through the mid-Atlantic from August 11 to August 21, was quite severe but remained far from any land area. On the August 14, maximum winds of 325 kilometres per hour (175 knots) were reported, as Cleo turned northward. On the August 16, the storm turned north-northwestward and gradually increased its forward speed. On August 19, Cleo accelerated to the northeast and later took a more eastward course until it became extratropical on the 20th.
Fortunately Hurricane Cleo remained at sea throughout its life span and there were no reports of any severe damage to shipping nor any deaths reported, despite the fact that the storm crossed the principle transatlantic shipping lanes.
Hurricane Daisy (August 24 to August 31, 1958)
Daisy formed just east of the Bahamas on August 24 and became a hurricane the next day. Hurricane Daisy moved very slowly north-northwestward before re-curving and increasing forward speed on the 26th. The centre passed about 120 kilometres east of Hatteras on August 28 and then passed about 110 kilometres southeast of Nantucket on the 29th. The North Carolina capes New England coasts felt only periphery gales as a result of Daisy.
There was no loss of life or significant property damage in the United States as a result of Hurricane Daisy. Maximum intensity was attained on August 28, when wind speeds were estimated in excess of 240 kilometres per hour (130 knots).
Hurricane Helene (September 24 to October 4, 1958)
Hurricane Helene was not only one of the most intense storm of 1958, but it was the most destructive. Helena developed from an easterly wave that can be traced back to the Cape Verde Islands on September 16, 1958. This disturbed condition began to intensify on September 23 and became a hurricane late on the 24th. Hurricane Helene approached the South Carolina coast on the 26th. Helene reached its greatest intensity around midnight of the same day, while located about 125 kilometres east of Charleston. The following day, as Helene re-curved, the western edge of the eye of the hurricane came within 16 kilometres off the coast at Cape Fear, North Carolina. The weather bureau at Wilmington recorded a maximum wind of 140 kilometres per hour (76 knots) and a peak gust of 217 kilometres per hour (117 knots). Although property damage was estimated at $11,000,000 in North Carolina, no lives were lost directly as a result of the hurricane and only one life was lost indirectly.
Tropical Storm Ilsa (September 24 to September 31, 1958)
Tropical Storm Ilsa was located about 1280 kilometres east of San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 24, 1958. By the September 25, Ilsa had reached hurricane intensity. Ilsa deepened rapidly on the 26th and it had a well defined eye. Winds were in excess of 200 kilometres per hour (108 knots). Although Hurricane Ilsa immediately followed Helene, Ilsa re-curved northward east of Puerto Rico and Bermuda.
No loss of lives or property damage was reported in association with Ilsa.
Hurricane Janice (October 5 to October 13, 1958)
The last hurricane of the season began developing on October 4 just south of central Cuba. Janice reached hurricane intensity during the evening of the 6th as it passed through the Bahamas. Rains in excess of 50 centimetres caused floods in Jamaica and one man was drowned in Nassau habour. Damage was from $200,000 to $300,000 in the Bahamas.
The hurricane drifted slowly north-northeastward to northeastward then began accelerating northeastward to east-northeastward on October 9. It continued in this direction until the 11th, when it began losing tropical characteristics and later merged with a deep low pressure system that moved from the Maritimes into the North Atlantic.
When first tropical depression that would become the 1st hurricane of 1959 (althrough unnamed at the time) was 560 kilometres west of Miami on July 17 and 18, tornadoes were reported at Miami and near Jupiter. These tornadoes caused an estimated $1,500,00 in damages to the Miami area. There were also many injuries to residents in this area but no deaths were reported.
The tropical cyclone moved across Florida during the night of June 17 through July 18, and brought with it heavy rains and gusty winds. Tides 75 centimetres above normal eroded beaches from Naples to St. Petersburg to the extent of $156,000. After passing off the Florida east coast and into the Atlantic, the storm deepened steadily.
The hurricane struck the Maritime Provinces in the vicinity of the Northumberland Straits. The papers reported that 33 lives were claimed as a result of this unnamed hurricane, most of those killed were lobster fishermen. There was also considerable property damage.
Tropical Storm Cindy (July 5 to July 12, 1959)
The fourth tropical cyclone of the season was Cindy. The circulation that produced the storm was first observed off the upper east coast of Florida on July 5. On July 6, Cindy developed and intensified and began moving northwestward. It attained hurricane force only slightly before reaching the coastline north of Charleston, South Carolina, on July 8. The storm curved northward through South Carolina on the 9th and then turned northeastward reaching the southern tip of Chesapeake Bay by late afternoon on the July 10. As the remnants of the circulation moved back into the Atlantic, noticeable re-intensification occurred. Accelerating towards the northeast, Cindy passed over Cape Cod on July 11.
Cindy was credited to one death in South Carolina, when a man was killed as result of his car hitting a fallen tree.
Hurricane Gracie (September 20 to October 2, 1959)
Hurricane Gracie was a major hurricane that was very difficult to forecast. Gracie developed and intensified suddenly to the northeast of the Bahamas. Between September 22 and 27, Gracie’s movement was erratic, and during this time it moved, at one time or another, in every direction of the compass. This made it extremely difficult to forecast in detail. On September 27, however, Gracie began to move steadily toward the west-northwest and passed inland on the South Carolina coast near Beaufort around noon on the 29th.
Several tornadoes accompanied the dying storm through Virginia and twelve people were killed near Charlottesville. Ten others lost their lives in South Carolina and Georgia, mainly due to storm induced automobile accidents, falling trees and live wires. Damage was estimated at $14,000,000 with about half occurring in Charleston, South Carolina.
Hurricane Hannah (September 27 to October 8, 1959)
Hurricane Hannah, which lasted from September 27 to October 8, spent its entire life over the open ocean and was never a serious threat to any land area. By the 13th, Hannah reached maximum winds of 200 kilometres per hour (108 knots). The hurricane maintained about the same intensity for the next three days and then it began to lose strength.
TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 AM EDT SAT JUN 1 2013
FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC…CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO…
TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED IN THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
TODAY MARKS THE FIRST DAY OF THE ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON…WHICH
WILL RUN UNTIL NOVEMBER 30.
LONG-TERM AVERAGES FOR THE NUMBER OF NAMED STORMS…HURRICANES…AND MAJOR HURRICANES ARE 12…6…AND
THE LIST OF NAMES FOR 2013 IS AS FOLLOWS:
NAME PRONUNCIATION NAME PRONUNCIATION
ANDREA AN- DREE UH
LORENZO LOH REN- ZOH
BARRY BAIR- REE
MELISSA MEH LIH- SUH
CHANTAL SHAHN TAHL-
NESTOR NES- TOR
DORIAN DOR- EE AN
OLGA OAL- GUH
ERIN AIR- RIN
PABLO PAHB- LO
FERNAND FAIR NAHN-
REBEKAH REH BEH- KUH
GABRIELLE GA BREE ELL-
SEBASTIEN SUH BASH- CHUHN
HUMBERTO OOM BAIR- TOH
TANYA TAHN- YUH
INGRID ING- GRID
JERRY JEHR- EE
WENDY WEN- DEE
KAREN KAIR- REN
THIS PRODUCT…THE TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK…BRIEFLY DESCRIBES
SIGNIFICANT AREAS OF DISTURBED WEATHER AND THEIR POTENTIAL FOR
TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS. THE ISSUANCE
TIMES OF THIS PRODUCT ARE 2 AM…8 AM…2 PM…AND 8 PM EDT. AFTER
THE CHANGE TO STANDARD TIME IN NOVEMBER…THE ISSUANCE TIMES ARE
1 AM…7 AM…1 PM…AND 7 PM EST.
A SPECIAL TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK WILL BE ISSUED TO PROVIDE
UPDATES…AS NECESSARY…IN BETWEEN THE REGULARLY SCHEDULED
ISSUANCES OF THE TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK. SPECIAL TROPICAL WEATHER
OUTLOOKS WILL BE ISSUED UNDER THE SAME WMO AND AWIPS HEADERS AS THE
REGULAR TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOKS.
A STANDARD PACKAGE OF PRODUCTS…CONSISTING OF THE TROPICAL CYCLONE
PUBLIC ADVISORY…THE FORECAST/ADVISORY…THE CYCLONE DISCUSSION…
AND THE WIND SPEED PROBABILITY PRODUCT…IS ISSUED EVERY SIX HOURS
FOR ALL ONGOING TROPICAL CYCLONES. IN ADDITION…A SPECIAL ADVISORY
PACKAGE MAY BE ISSUED AT ANY TIME TO ADVISE OF SIGNIFICANT
UNEXPECTED CHANGES OR TO MODIFY WATCHES OR WARNINGS.
THE TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE IS A BRIEF STATEMENT TO INFORM OF
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN A TROPICAL CYCLONE OR TO POST OR CANCEL
WATCHES OR WARNINGS. THE TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE CAN ALSO BE USED
IN LIEU OF OR TO PRECEDE THE ISSUANCE OF A SPECIAL ADVISORY
PACKAGE. THE TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE IS ALSO ISSUED TO PROVIDE A
CONTINUOUS FLOW OF INFORMATION REGARDING THE CENTER LOCATION OF A
TROPICAL CYCLONE WHEN WATCHES OR WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT AND THE
CENTER CAN BE EASILY TRACKED WITH LAND-BASED RADAR. TROPICAL
CYCLONE UPDATES…WHICH CAN BE ISSUED AT ANY TIME…CAN BE FOUND
UNDER WMO HEADER WTNT61-65 KNHC…AND UNDER AWIPS HEADER
ALL NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER TEXT AND GRAPHICAL PRODUCTS ARE
AVAILABLE ON THE WEB AT WWW.HURRICANES.GOV. YOU CAN ALSO INTERACT
WITH US ON FACEBOOK AT
ARE AVAILABLE VIA TWITTER WHEN SELECT NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER
PRODUCTS ARE ISSUED. INFORMATION ABOUT OUR ATLANTIC TWITTER FEED IS
AVAILABLE AT WWW.HURRICANES.GOV/TWITTER.SHTML …IN ALL LOWER CASE.
AN AREA OF DISORGANIZED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS IS OCCURRING OVER
THE SOUTHWESTERN GULF OF MEXICO AND THE BAY OF CAMPECHE IN
ASSOCIATION WITH A WEAK LOW PRESSURE AREA. ANY DEVELOPMENT OF THIS
SYSTEM SHOULD BE SLOW TO OCCUR DUE TO UNFAVORABLE UPPER-LEVEL WINDS
AND PROXIMITY TO LAND. THIS SYSTEM HAS A LOW CHANCE…10
PERCENT…OF BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
VOLUNTEER AGENCIES CONTINUE TO AID SURVIVORS OF SUPERSTORM SANDY
May 13, 2013
TRENTON, N.J.–In the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, volunteer groups from around the nation came to New Jersey to help. Six months later, the response phase of the disaster is over, but volunteers remain an important part of the recovery effort. And they are here for the long term.
A coalition of volunteer organizations, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), has been working with federal, state and local agencies to provide a wide range of services to New Jerseyans as they move forward with their recovery.
FEMA supports their efforts by identifying populations with access and functional needs, identifying available federal assistance programs and providing coordination and donations management. Together, the agencies form a Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG). FEMA’s Voluntary Agency Liaisons work with the voluntary groups at the state and local levels and also refer people to the LTRG for help with specific needs
The voluntary organizations’ work includes helping with flood debris cleanup as well as home repairs and reconstruction, providing short-term food, clothing and shelter assistance, and counseling services.
In Wall Township, volunteers from the North Carolina Baptist Men with specific skills in mold remediation are removing mold in flood-damaged homes.
Volunteers from Samaritan’s Purse, a non-denominational evangelical Christian organization with services worldwide, are putting up sheetrock and performing other rebuilding tasks for homeowners in Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
“There’s some great work going on there,” said NJ VOAD Chair Cathy McCann of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.
McCann said there are presently 14 LTRG agencies working on recovery projects in New Jersey.
Other local and national VOAD organizations active in the continuing recovery include: the American Red Cross, the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Church World Service, World Renew, UMCOR (United Methodist Church) Mormon Helping Hands, Operation Hope, United Church of Christ, Catholic Charities, NECHAMA (Jewish Response), ICNA (Muslim Humanity) Rebuilding Together, Habitat for Humanity, Lutheran Disaster Response, Presbyterian Disaster Services, the Salvation Army, certain United Way organizations as well as faith-based volunteers from numerous other denominations, individual churches, synagogues and mosques.
A broad range of help is available from many agencies, McCann said. She recommends that New Jersey Sandy survivors visit www.nj211.org see how they can locate the help they need.
“Our entire resource guide is on 2-1-1,” McCann said. “2-1-1 can direct requests to the right people.”
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Deaths Associated with Hurricane Sandy — October–November 2012
May 24, 2013 / 62(20);393-397
On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy* hit the northeastern U.S. coastline. Sandy’s tropical storm winds stretched over 900 miles (1,440 km), causing storm surges and destruction over a larger area than that affected by hurricanes with more intensity but narrower paths. Based on storm surge predictions, mandatory evacuations were ordered on October 28, including for New York City’s Evacuation Zone A, the coastal zone at risk for flooding from any hurricane (1). By October 31, the region had 6–12 inches (15–30 cm) of precipitation, 7–8 million customers without power, approximately 20,000 persons in shelters, and news reports of numerous fatalities (Robert Neurath, CDC, personal communication, 2013). To characterize deaths related to Sandy, CDC analyzed data on 117 hurricane-related deaths captured by American Red Cross (Red Cross) mortality tracking during October 28–November 30, 2012. This report describes the results of that analysis, which found drowning was the most common cause of death related to Sandy, and 45% of drowning deaths occurred in flooded homes in Evacuation Zone A. Drowning is a leading cause of hurricane death but is preventable with advance warning systems and evacuation plans. Emergency plans should ensure that persons receive and comprehend evacuation messages and have the necessary resources to comply with them.
Red Cross tracks deaths during disasters to provide services to surviving family members, including crisis counseling, assistance with disaster-related expenses, locating emergency housing, identifying recovery resources, and addressing disaster-related health needs. Red Cross volunteers search for reports of disaster-related deaths from sources such as funeral home directors, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), hospitals, and news reports. Volunteers then obtain information about these deaths from sources including the medical examiner/coroner, physician, fire department/police, and family of the decedent (2).
Deaths included in this analysis were any Sandy-related death recorded on a Red Cross mortality form with a date of death up to November 30, 2012. Mortality forms included the decedent’s age, sex, race (white, black, Asian, other, or unknown), and date and location of death. Disaster-related deaths were categorized as direct or indirect. Directly related deaths are deaths caused by the environmental force of the disaster (e.g., wind or flood) or by the direct consequences of these forces (e.g., structural collapse). Indirectly related deaths are defined as deaths occurring in a situation in which the disaster led to unsafe conditions (e.g., hazardous roads) or caused a loss or disruption of usual services that contributed to the death (e.g., loss of electrical services) (2). Deaths without direct or indirect classification were reported as unknown or possibly related deaths. Daily counts of direct, indirect, and unknown/possibly related deaths were calculated based on the dates of each death. The characteristics of drowning deaths were compared with all deaths using chi-square tests of trend and t-tests. Home addresses of decedents whose drowning death occurred in the home were examined with respect to FEMA’s hurricane storm surge area (field-verified as of November 11, 2012 ) and known, geographically defined areas under evacuation order (i.e., New York City’s Evacuation Zone A) (1).
A total of 117 deaths were reported on Red Cross mortality forms. The source of information for the mortality forms was a medical examiner/coroner for 94 (80.3%) cases and the family of the decedent for 10 (8.5%) cases (Table). Most deaths occurred in New York (53 [45.3%]) and New Jersey (34 [29.1%]); the other deaths occurred in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Connecticut, and Maryland. The deaths occurred during October 28–November 29, 2012 (Figure 1). Approximately half of the deaths (60 [51.3%]) occurred on the first 2 days of the storm’s landfall, with a peak of 37 deaths on October 30, 2012.
Decedents ranged in age from 1 to 94 years (mean: 60 years, median: 65 years); 60.7% were male, and 53.8% were white. Of the 117 deaths, 67 (57.3%) were classified as directly related deaths, and 38 (32.5%) were indirectly related to the storm. Of the directly related deaths, the most common mechanism was drowning (40 [59.7%]), followed by trauma from being crushed, cut, or struck (19 [28.4%]). Poisoning was the most common indirectly related cause of death; of the 10 poisonings, nine were caused by carbon monoxide. Most directly related deaths occurred during the first few days of the storm, whereas indirectly related deaths continued from the day before the storm into the middle of November.
Comparing the 40 drowning deaths to all Sandy-related deaths, the age, sex, and race distributions of decedents were similar (Table). The majority of drowning deaths (29 [72.5%]) also occurred in the initial phase of the storm, during October 29–31. Twenty-one (52.5%) drowning deaths occurred in the decedent’s home, and 11 (27.5%) occurred outside; one person drowned in a flooded commercial building lobby, and another person drowned while intentionally swimming off a storm-affected beach. For six deaths, circumstances of the drowning were not available. The location of drowning deaths by state was significantly different (p<0.05) compared with all Sandy-related deaths. The majority of drowning deaths (32 [80.0%]) occurred in New York, whereas deaths in New York accounted for only 27.3% of nondrowning deaths. Twenty decedents drowned in flooded homes in New York, and home addresses for 18 (90.0%) of them were located in Evacuation Zone A (Figure 2); the other two decedents’ homes were in or near areas of flooding and near Evacuation Zone A. Notes written by Red Cross volunteers on these 20 deaths captured decedents’ reasons for not evacuating, such as “afraid of looters,” “thought Hurricane Irene was mild,” and “unable to leave because did not have transportation.”
The “perfect storm” weather conditions of Hurricane Sandy resulted in extensive damage to infrastructure and large flood zones (4). The direct and indirect impacts of the storm led to challenging, and sometimes deadly, conditions for residents, including prolonged power outages, storm surges, and disrupted services. More than half (51.3%) of deaths from Sandy occurred within the first 2 days of the storm, and the most common cause of death was drowning. Approximately half of the drowning deaths were in flooded homes located in areas that were under mandatory evacuation orders as of October 28, 2012, the day before Sandy’s landfall (1).
Before the 1970s, drowning from wind-driven storm surges was by far the most common cause of hurricane-related death (5). Advances in hurricane warning and evacuation systems have helped to reduce drowning deaths. Since that time, hurricanes have had other leading causes of death, such as trauma for the Florida hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, and carbon monoxide poisoning for Hurricane Ike in 2008 (6,7). However, drowning continues to be an important cause of death, and was the leading cause for Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Sandy (8).
The findings in this report are subject to at least two limitations. First, the number of deaths reported is limited to those captured through Red Cross mortality tracking, which is only activated in areas with a Red Cross Disaster Relief Operation. In an evaluation of Red Cross mortality tracking versus Texas’ active disaster-related mortality surveillance during Hurricane Ike, Red Cross had a sensitivity of 47% (Red Cross cases compared with Texas cases) and positive predictive value of 92% (Red Cross Ike cases compared with all Red Cross cases); thus, the cases presented in this report are likely to be actual cases but are unlikely to include all Sandy-related deaths (2). Media sources have reported 131 fatalities in the United States from the storm (9); Sandy mortality statistics, including death certificates, are pending official release. Second, the specific location of death was only available for decedents who died at home, limiting other geographic comparisons. Additionally, New York City’s Evacuation Zones provided the only geographic data available for identifying areas of evacuation; however, 95% of all drowning deaths at home were in or near these areas.
Hurricane-related drowning deaths in evacuation zones are preventable. A successful evacuation depends on officials providing timely messaging to all affected persons, on persons receiving those messages, and on persons having the capacity, resources, and willingness to evacuate. The penetration of evacuation messages to decedents or their communities was not assessed in this report, but future research should evaluate the effectiveness of the hurricane evacuation orders. Given the inability and unwillingness of some residents to evacuate, additional research is needed to identify barriers and motivators for persons during an evacuation and the effectiveness of interventions designed to assist these persons.
Farag NH, Rey A, Noe R, Bayleyegn T, Wood AD, Zane D. Evaluation of the American Red Cross disaster-related mortality surveillance system using Hurricane Ike data—Texas 2008. Disaster Med Public Health Prep 2012; December 7 [Epub ahead of print]
Federal Emergency Management Agency. Hurricane Sandy: timeline; 2012. Washington, DC: US Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency; 2012. Available at http://www.fema.gov/hurricane-sandy-timeline.
Fairchild AL, Colgrove J, Jones MM. The challenge of mandatory evacuation: providing for and deciding for. Health Aff (Millwood) 2006;25:958–67.
* Sandy evolved from a Category 3 hurricane in the Caribbean to an intense post-tropical cyclone before landfall in the United States.
Number of reported deaths related to Hurricane Sandy (direct, indirect, and unknown/possibly), by date — Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, October 28–November 30, 2012
What is already known on this topic?
Despite advances in hurricane warning and evacuation systems, drowning remains one of the leading causes of hurricane-related deaths.
What is added by this report?
A total of 117 deaths related to Hurricane Sandy were reported via the American Red Cross mortality tracking system. Drowning was the leading cause, accounting for approximately one third of the deaths. More than half (52.5%) of the drowning deaths occurred in the decedent’s home; the majority of these homes were located in New York City’s Evacuation Zone A.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Drowning is a preventable cause of hurricane-related death. Hurricane response plans should ensure that persons receive and comprehend evacuation messages and have the necessary resources to comply with them.
WASHINGTON – With just one month until the official start of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season on June 1, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges Americans to ensure their families, homes and businesses are prepared for the risks associated with hurricanes and tropical storms. Individuals and families are encouraged to have a family communications plan and make a kit with essential items like non-perishable food, bottled water, spare batteries, a can opener and specialty items like medical prescriptions and spare eyeglasses and don’t forget your pet’s food. Property owners should also review their insurance coverage with their agent – including flood insurance – to ensure they’ll be adequately protected in the event of a storm.
As hurricane season approaches, FEMA is coordinating with state, local, tribal and territorial officials to ensure that all communities along the coast and hurricane-prone areas are prepared to respond. Even as long-term recovery efforts continue from Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy in 2012, now is the time to prepare for this year’s approaching hurricane season. As hurricanes and tropical storms move inland, the high winds and storm surge are often accompanied by torrential rains that increase the likelihood of flooding.
Flood insurance policyholders who live in areas far from traditional hurricane country saw the impacts of Hurricane Sandy last year. Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States and everyone is at risk. Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period—from date of purchase—before your policy goes into effect. That means now is the best time to buy flood insurance. Flood insurance is available through approximately 85 insurance companies in more than 22,000 participating communities nationwide and is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners/renters, and commercial owners/renters. Costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property’s flood risk. Individuals can learn more about their flood risk and flood insurance options by visiting www.floodsmart.gov or calling 1-800-427-2419.
To learn what you can do to prepare for hurricane season and pledge to prepare, visit www.Ready.gov/hurricanes. You can also get the mobile version of the Web site at m.fema.gov, making it easier to access critical information regarding emergency preparedness and what to do before and after a disaster from your smartphone and tablet.