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Thursday, April 17, 2014
Clearing up Sandy’s confusion
Answering residents’ questions in the wake of storm that devastated Oceanside, Island Park
Donovan Berthoud/Herald
Volunteers offloaded trucks with supplies in Island Park after the storm.

In the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, people seemed to be, more than anything, confused and frightened. With so much destruction all around, there was a dearth of information.

Residents were turning to Facebook and to the Herald, and we didn’t have many of the answers. So we went to work finding them. The information that follows was the best and most complete that we could gather as of our press time on Tuesday night.

Oceanside and Island Park were hit particularly hard by Sandy, a fact that many of the larger media outlets seem to have missed. It is the Herald’s mission to get you the information you need. In the coming weeks, if you have a pressing question you can’t find the answer to, email us at oceaneditor@liherald.com, call us at (516) 569-4000 ext. 269 or post on our Facebook wall at www.facebook.com/oceansideislandpark.

Why was this storm so bad?

The flooding from Sandy was caused by a large storm surge, coupled with waves created by the hurricane-force winds.

A storm surge is caused by the winds of a powerful storm. They literally push the ocean forward, causing the water to swell in height. Add to that the fact that the storm peaked at high tide, and that it was a spring tide (when the sun, Earth and Moon are lined up and the high tide is even higher), and it was a recipe for disaster.

“So in addition to the waves breaking, you have this pushing of the ocean itself,” said Prof. Malcolm Bowman, who teaches oceanography at Stony Brook University. “And it will go and flow inland. It will go everywhere.”

According to Bowman, the storm surge added about seven vertical feet of water to the high tide.

The storm was also particularly bad because of its unusual nature, an odd hybrid between a hurricane and a nor’easter. “[Nor’easters are] usually big and hang around for a couple of days, where a hurricane is usually quick,” Bowman said.

Where is the mail?

Some residents said they had not received any mail. Delivery was disrupted in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

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