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Special Report

Hurricane Sandy: An Unprecedented Disaster

Meteorologists and scientists have long warned that an extreme storm could leave the Northeast reeling. Sandy's October 29 impact unfortunately proved them right

The Science of Hurricane Sandy-Live blog

Welcome to Scientific American 's Science of Sandy live blog where we are posting continuous updates on the storm and its aftermath, and answering your questions.If you have pictures, video, audio or questions about this tropical cyclone (categorized as a hurricane and a tropical storm at various times in its progress)—share them with us at, our facebook page, or tweet @sciam with #sciamsandy.

October 29, 2012 — Daisy Yuhas

Sandy Rips through My Street

I stand on a near-vertical sidewalk upended by a tree half a block from my home. The sign for the jitney remains parallel to the trunk. No one waited here for the bus this week.

November 2, 2012 — Ingrid Wickelgren

Disaster Response: A New Yorker Reflects on Sandy

Downtown Manhattan: Pedal power but no electricity in the days after Sandy. Credit: Christine Gorman/Scientific American Evolutionary psychologists tell us it's human nature to search for lessons from the skies.

November 2, 2012 — Christine Gorman

The Future According to Sandy

“We [seem to] have a 100-year flood every two years now," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he told President Barack Obama during his tour of the damage from Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday.

October 31, 2012 — Fred Guterl

Did NYC rats survive hurricane Sandy?

Floodwaters enter Hugh L. Carey Tunnel. MTA photo How many of the NYC rats survived hurricane Sandy? This question has been asked in the wake of Sandy's flooding of lower and east Manhattan.

October 31, 2012 — Bora Zivkovic

Frankenstorm Sandy: Stitched Together from Elements Both Natural and Unnatural

Bill McKibben, co-founder of, made a comment the other day that really captured the essence of the monster hybrid storm, Hurricane Sandy: "This thing is stitched together from elements (both) natural and unnatural." Most elements of this storm have indeed been observed in the past without any need for invoking global climate change as a causative agent.

October 31, 2012 — Charles H. Greene

Civilization s Thin Veneer: The Evacuation of Bellevue

Bellevue The nation’s oldest public hospital—and the premier emergency institution in New York City—is the go-to place in the aftermath of a plane or train wreck, an all-out gunfight or a commercial airliner slicing through a skyscraper.

November 1, 2012 — Gary Stix

Did Climate Change Cause Hurricane Sandy?

If you’ve followed the U.S. news and weather in the past 24 hours you have no doubt run across a journalist or blogger explaining why it’s difficult to say that climate change could be causing big storms like Sandy.

October 30, 2012 — Mark Fischetti

Why Do Trees Topple in a Storm?

White pine windthrow. “Shoestring” rhizomorphs or mycelial cords of Armillaria found along with dead woody roots. Photo: Kevin T. Smith For some, an unwanted reminder of Hurricane Sandy that crashed into the East Coast as megastorm of the century is a big tree uprooted, lying across the yard -- If lucky, missing the house.

November 12, 2012 — Mary Knudson
What Does It Take to Make a "Frankenstorm"?

What Does It Take to Make a "Frankenstorm"?

The U.S. east coast is enduring what's been dubbed a "Frankenstorm" for its combination of multiple different types of weather systems. David Biello reports

October 27, 2012

Staten Island's "Bluebelt" Doesn't Fight Superstorms, but Plays Crucial Role in Managing Excess Rainfall

During an eerily foreshadowing talk I attended the week before Sandy came crashing ashore, New York City’s climate resilience advisor, Leah Cohen, assured the small attending audience that PlaNYC 2030, a tentative map for the city’s sustainable growth, outlined no such plans to “buy back” developed areas in the city—even those dangerously close to the water’s edge.

November 9, 2012 — Kathleen Raven