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This article is from the In-Depth Report Hurricane Sandy: An Unprecedented Disaster

Myth-Conceptions: 5 Falsehoods about Superstorm Sandy

During disasters, rumors, untruths and exaggerations swirl through the air along with the detritus of hurricane winds

Myth: Sandy was a normal hurricane

Hurricane Sandy had an asymmetrical wind field, which means its most powerful winds were located in its left-rear quadrant, making it anything but normal. Most storms of Sandy's caliber are strongest in the front, right quadrant.

What's interesting about the storm is it underwent an extratropical transition during the storm, says Forrest Masters, a wind engineer at the University of Florida. "Sandy's a slightly different animal than we've been looking at in the past."

This transformation made it difficult for Masters's team to track the storm as it headed toward their southern New Jersey base. It also means that when Sandy first made landfall, east coast residents only experienced partial wind load and might have misjudged the severity of the storm. —Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato

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