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Nathan Golia
Nathan Golia
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Looks Like the Models Were Right After All

Data indicates that the area flooded by Superstorm Sandy was well within expected parameters.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the devastating floods that caused much of the damage — and are generally not covered by standard insurance — has led many in the New York metropolitan area to re-evaluate their personal risk of losing everything to water.

Many expressed shock at the force and reach of water that came ashore via storm surge. Previous storms hadn't done nearly as much damage, lulling coastal residents into a false sense of security.

But a map by WNYC, New York's NPR affiliate, shows that what happened was actually what should've been expected from a storm of Sandy's magnitude. Simply toggle between actual flooding and the expected impact of a Category 1 storm, and you'll see how close they match.

And there were alarm bells: Analysis firm CoreLogic said this summer that Hurricane Irene showed "startling insight into the damage that even a weak storm can cause in the New York City metro area," according to a Reuters report.

The story added:

The risk is there, particularly from flooding. While most people associate hurricane damage with wind, the storm surge from rising waters caused by cyclones has just as much impact, if not more.

Later, CoreLogic's Tom Jeffery told Insurance & Technology that Sandy represents the "worst possible" Category 1-level surge that could hit New York.

The thought of an even worse storm — even marginally so — is one of the reasons governments, insurers, and citizens are considering the wisdom of rebuilding in the area. As the map shows, the disruption from an even marginally larger storm would eclipse even the massive headaches tri-state area residents have faced this month. Certainly for me, knowing that projections are accurate, and how hard it is to recover from something like this, it's hard to look out at the Narrows, only a block from my door.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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