Gale- to storm-force winds associated with the passage of Sandy across central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania that lasted 12 to 18 hours caused major to record coastal flooding in southeastern New York on October 29, 2012. Of 10 real-time tide gages operated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in coastal areas of Long Island and New York City, all recorded levels above the National Weather Service (NWS) major coastal flood elevation. The locations of tide stations operated by the USGS in the southeastern New York region are shown on the Southeastern New York Coastal Montitoring Sites web page.
The south shore of New York City and western Long Island saw the bulk of the record water elevations, as these areas were to the immediate right of the storm's center of circulation as it made landfall in New Jersey. Widespread record coastal flooding occurred in Lower New York Bay, Jamaica Bay, and the western bays along southern Nassau County. The peak water levels recorded at all stations in these areas also exceeded the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 100-year base flood elevations for these sites. In all cases, the peaks from Sandy have surpassed anything documented previously at these sites, including the Oct. 31, 1991 and Dec. 11, 1992 storms and Hurricane Irene.
Record coastal flooding also occurred in western Great South Bay along southern Suffolk County and in the Peconic Estuary of eastern Suffolk County. The peak water levels recorded at most stations in these areas also exceeded the FEMA 100-year stillwater elevations for these sites. In all cases, the peaks from Sandy have surpassed anything documented previously at these sites, including the Oct. 31, 1991 and Dec. 11, 1992 storms.
The Long Island Sound shore of northern Nassau County experienced major coastal flooding. The peak water level recorded at the one real-time station in this area exceeded the FEMA 10-year stillwater elevation for this site. The peak from Sandy was within 0.5 ft of the record previously documented for this site-from the Dec. 11, 1992 storm.
Notice: 14NOV12 - The USGS is monitoring barrier island breaches in cooperation with the National Park Service.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) New York Water Science Center (NYWSC) proposes to help evaluate
the open breach condition in Federal Wilderness near the Old Inlet area of Fire Island National Seashore,
N.Y. The proposed NYWSC evaluation would initially be focused on two activities: measurement of
water velocities and depths within the Wilderness breach, and collection of water levels within Great
South Bay (GSB) adjacent to the breach.
Measurement of water velocities and depths within the Wilderness breach would be done with a Sontek
M9 acoustic Doppler current profiler tethered to an Oceanscience remotely operated Q-boat 1800P.
Water velocities would be collected at a rate of 3.0 and/or 1.0 MHz depending on flow conditions
with an accuracy of 0.25% of measured velocity and resolution of 0.001 m/s; water depths would be
collected at the same frequency as velocity with a vertical accuracy of 1% and resolution of 0.001 m.
Approximately 3 to 5 sections perpendicular to the channel axis would be collected within the breach
and geo-referenced using RTK GPS. Another section would be collected perpendicular to the flood
tidal channel(s) bayward of the former GSB shoreline. An additional section would be collected roughly
parallel and seaward of the former ocean shoreline, as conditions permit. For each deployment, these
sections would be measured once during the last 2-3 hours of the incoming ocean tide and a second
time during the last 2-3 hours of the outgoing ocean tide. Velocity and depth measurements would
be imported into a geographic information system (GIS) and exported as one or more geo-referenced
shapefiles. Instantaneous discharge also would be computed from one of the breach sections for
incoming and outgoing tide conditions.
Collection of water levels within GSB adjacent to the breach would be done with a modified
USGS storm surge sensor (SSS). This sensor, which normally collects 7 days of 30-second-interval
data, would be reprogrammed to collect about 2 months of routine (6-minute-interval) tide-gage
observations. The modified SSS would be affixed to a remnant piling of the Old Inlet dock. At the
end of the 2-month period, the SSS would be recovered and its record processed and displayed on
the USGS Hurricane Sandy Storm Tide Mapper.
Notice: 14NOV12 - The USGS has recovered most of the 38 storm-surge sensors, 4 wave-high sensors, 10 barometric-pressure sensors, and 4 rapid-deployment gages that were deployed prior to Hurricane Sandy's arrival. This work will be carried out by teams from the New York, Georgia, and North Carolina Water Science Centers. In addition, these teams marked and are surveying over 300 high-water marks in the region to document this record flooding event.
Information about high-water marks and data retieved from these instruments are posted for display on the storm tracker found on the Hurricane Sandy Storm Tide mapper.
Tidal water-elevation stations, rapid deployment streamgages and some streamgages recorded water level data and transmitted those data on a real time basis. A list of those gages can be found on the USGS Storm tide and Rapid deployment streamgages page.
Provisional peak data from 10 existing USGS coastal gages in southeastern New York are shown below. All USGS these tidal water-elevation stations recorded levels above the National Weather Service major coastal flood elevation.
West Pond at Glen Cove, NY (01302600): 10.96 ft (above FEMA 10-year stillwater elevation)
Orient Harbor at Orient, NY (01304200): 7.38 ft (approached FEMA 50-year stillwater elevation)
Peconic River at County Hwy 105 at Riverhead, NY (01304562): 8.60 ft (above FEMA 100-year stillwater elevation)
Great South Bay at Lindenhurst, NY (01309225): 7.73 (approached FEMA 100-year base flood elevation)
Hudson Bay at Freeport, NY (01310521): 10.12 ft (above FEMA 100-year base flood elevation)
Reynolds Channel at Point Lookout, NY (01310740): 10.10 ft (above FEMA 100-year base flood elevation
Hog Island Channel at Island Park, NY (01311143): 10.89 ft (above FEMA 100-year base flood elevation
East Rockaway Inlet at Atlantic Beach, NY (01311145): 10.80 ft (above FEMA 100-year base flood elevation)
Jamaica Bay at Inwood, NY (01311850): 11.65 ft (above FEMA 100-year base flood elevation)
Rockaway Inlet near Floyd Bennett Field, NY (01311875): 11.75 ft (above FEMA 100-year base flood elevation
Hudson River - Hurricane Sandy storm-surge high-water-marks are plotted here relative to historic water elevations.
McCallum, Brian E., Wicklein, Shaun M., Reiser, Robert G., Busciolano, Ronald, Morrison, Jonathan, Verdi, Richard J., Painter, Jaime A., Frantz, Eric R., Gotvald, Anthony J., 2013, Monitoring storm tide and flooding from Hurricane Sandy along the Atlantic coast of the United States, October 2012: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013-1043, 48 p. https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20131043
Simonson, A.E., 2013. From Montauk to Manhattan - Measuring Storm Tide and High-Water Marks caused by Hurricane Sandy in New York [abs.], in Association of Long Island Geologists, 20th Conference on the Geology of Long Island and Metropolitan New York, State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY, April 13, 2013, https://www.geo.sunysb.edu/lig/Conferences/abstracts13/simonson.pdf