A Timeline of Hurricane Sandy
Oct. 11-26, 2012
A tropical wave leaves the west coast of Africa and within a week reaches the Caribbean Sea, where it develops into a hurricane by Oct. 24. It makes landfall in Jamaica, then Cuba, before passing through the Bahamas, where it increases greatly in size.
Hurricane Sandy makes landfall near Atlantic City, N.J., in the evening. The size of the storm, which arrives near high tide, results in extensive and severe flooding in New Jersey and New York.
As it moves ashore, the hurricane becomes one of the deadliest storms in U.S. history, resulting directly in the deaths of 72 people. In New York, there were 48 deaths, the most for any state, followed by New Jersey with 12. Five people in Connecticut died.
Breezy Point, a seaside enclave in Queens, is ravaged. Flooded streets impede firefighters, and a blaze fueled by the storm’s winds burns down 126 homes. It is one of the worst residential fires in the city’s history.
Bellevue Hospital Center, New York’s flagship public hospital, evacuates more than 700 patients and shuts down after its backup power generators fail. NYU Langone Medical Center also evacuates more than 200 patients after its backup power system fails.
Following a public outcry, the New York City Marathon is canceled for the first time since it began in 1970. Critics opposed holding the race on Nov. 4 while many New Yorkers were still without power and suffering from storm damage. Nearly 50,000 runners expected to compete.
The city begins rationing gasoline for the first time since the 1970s. Parts of Long Island and New Jersey also started rationing gas after the storm caused widespread supply problems and knocked out power to gas stations.
President Barack Obama issues an executive order creating the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force to coordinate rebuilding efforts. It will be led by the housing secretary, Shaun Donovan, a former city housing commissioner.
City officials convene the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency to look at how to make the city’s communities, buildings and infrastructure more resilient to climate change.
Jan. 28, 2013
Congress approves nearly $51 billion in emergency aid after months of pleas by the governor of New York and leaders of other storm-damaged states. The money will help millions rebuild their homes and businesses and pay for the repair of highways and transit systems.
NYC Road Map
The city releases “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” a 438-page report that analyzes the city’s climate risks and provides a road map to protect its neighborhoods and infrastructure with more than 250 specific recommendations.
The BIG U
A federal competition for resiliency projects, Rebuild by Design, awards $920 million to six winning ideas. The largest amount, $335 million, goes to the BIG U, which would build a system of flood barriers around the southern end of Manhattan. (Status: In progress.)
New York City is awarded a $3 billion FEMA grant to repair and stormproof 33 public housing complexes, where the hurricane’s storm surge flooded buildings and left some residents without power and heat for weeks. (Status: In progress.)
Nearly three years after the storm, only a small fraction of homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy have been rebuilt, in part because of delays, confusion and problems with government assistance programs, including the city’s Build It Back initiative.
A 15-month shutdown of the L train between Manhattan and Brooklyn was averted after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo swooped in with a last-minute plan to make repairs to a Sandy-ravaged tunnel on nights and weekends. (Status: Completed.)
A Massive Sea Wall?
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases list of options for protecting the metropolitan area from future storms. One is a six-mile-long set of gates stretching from Breezy Point in Queens to Sandy Hook in New Jersey, estimated to cost $119 billion. (Status: Canceled.)
Different Mayor, Different Plan
Mayor Bill de Blasio lays out his “new plan” to climate-proof Lower Manhattan: extend the coastline two blocks into the East River at a cost of $10 billion. (Status: Revised.)
A Taller Extension of Manhattan
Two days before Mr. de Blasio leaves office, the city’s Economic Development Corporation issues a $7 billion plan to protect Lower Manhattan that would create a multilevel, public waterfront as high as 18 feet and extending 200 feet into the East River. (Status: In progress.)
Make That 12 Gates
The Army Corps of Engineers unveils a new, $52 billion proposal for protecting the region from future storms: Instead of one long wall outside the harbor, the plan is to build 12 movable sea barriers across bays and inlets of New York Harbor.