Impact and Management of Hurricane Sandy



October 2012


The Caribbean (hitting Jamaica, Cuba and Bermuda) and the USA (affecting 24 states)

  • Damage in the US estimated at over $63 billion
  • Vulnerable Coastline due to:
  • Coast from Delaware to Rhode Island is densely populated
  • Large areas of expensive coastal property very close to sea level
  • Many recreational and tourist resorts with beach front infrastructure such as hotels and amusement parks
  • Numerous barrier islands which are unstable, prone to storm surges and wave erosion, and hard to evacuate during rescue phase
  • Widespread disruption of transport and utilities in Jamaica.
  • Haiti badly affected by flooding and landslides.
  • 20,000 airline flights cancelled over the period October 27th-November 1st, 8.6 million power outages. Nearly 600,000 businesses and homes were destroyed.
  • At least 286 people were killed either directly or indirectly by Sandy. There were 147 direct deaths: 72 in the USA and the rest mainly in Caribbean, including 54 in Haiti and 11 in Cuba.
  • In the USA of the 87 indirect deaths from Sandy, at least 50 were attributable to either falls by the elderly, carbon monoxide poisoning from inadequately ventilated generators and cooking equipment, or hypothermia as a cold snap followed Sandy and extended power outages left people without heating.

Management and Response


Caribbean and Bermuda

  • October 22nd issued a tropical storm watch
  • October 23rd upgraded to a Tropical storm warning
  • Many residents stocked up on supplies and reinforced roofing material
  • People were urged to take care of their neighbours, especially the elderly, children and disabled
  • Schools, government buildings and the airport in Kingston shut down
  • Early curfews were put in place to protect residents, properties and to prevent crime

United States

  • East Coast attempted to head off long-term power failures by being prepared to repair storm damage and employees working longer hours
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) monitored Sandy
  • Flight cancellations put in place
  • National Guard and U.S Air Force put as many as 45,000 personnel in at least seven states on alert for possible duty in response to the preparations and aftermath of Sandy
  • Florida - Closure and cancellations of activities in schools
  • Carolinas - Tropical storm watch was issued. National park service closed at least 5 sections
  • Washington, D.C - October 26th declared state of emergency. Metro service, both rail and bus was cancelled on October 29ths due to expected high winds
  • Maryland - State of emergency announced October 26th, Residents were evacuated with the assistance of the Maryland Natural Resources Police, 2 shelters were opened. Maryland Transit Administration cancelled all services for October 29th and 30th.