The conditions were set for a perfect storm.
High tide and drowned river valley topography all played integral parts in fueling Hurricane Sandy’s intensity.
But, according to SDSU emeritus geology professor Pat Abbott, other important factors strengthened the superstorm.
“This is just not a hurricane we are dealing with,” Abbott said. “But three weather systems that are combining into one.”
Unlike a typical hurricane, where the energy of the storm would be lost as it reached the shore, Hurricane Sandy continues to be propelled by the force of two other distinct weather systems.
A strong thunderstorm from the west collided with cold arctic air systems over the Atlantic coast.
“At just the right moment, instead of the hurricane losing energy, it melds into a superstorm to create major intensity.
“The new tremendous amount of energy needs to expend itself. And rightfully we’ve seen heavy rains, the flooding and the strong winds," Abbott said.
Abbott said that for a hurricane of this magnitude the death toll is relatively low.
“We don’t yet know how long it will take to get back to normal, the amount of loss to the economy, or the actual damage done," Abbott said.