December 5, 2013

Researchers map Hurricane Sandy Impact in New York City

Street-by-street view provides unprecedented detail of power and transit issues, revealing vulnerabilities…

Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest of the 2012 hurricane season and is the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history! While many scientists will be studying “Sandy” for years to come, some researchers are focused instead on how to make communities less vulnerable to such a storm.

University of Washington civil engineer Dorothy Reed and her team received a rapid grant from the National Science Foundation to study how Hurricane Sandy affected the infrastructure of the New York Metropolitan area, including the power and transit systems. “I’m very interested in looking at what we can do as civil engineers to make the system more resilient,” says Reed.

Reed and her team area creating highly detailed maps to construct a comprehensive street-by-street view of Sandy’s devastation. They are plotting things like the locations of power substations, the number of customer outages per district, and overlaying that with schematics of the transit lines and a layer showing where the power failed. Then, they marry those maps with precise weather data from agencies, including NOAA, NASA and the National Hurricane Center.

Reed says her team’s work will help planners and engineers identify the city’s vulnerabilities – key to being better prepared

credit: NSF

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