Although Hurricane Sandy caused severe damage to so many areas along the East Coast, Shippensburg University and the Shippensburg area got lucky. The damage here was not as severe as everyone had predicted.
The Category 1 hurricane reached landfall in New Jersey last Monday, flooding and ruining shore points in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland, and disrupting New York City.Numerous residents sustained major damage to their homes.
Many areas in South Central Pennsylvania were flooded, resulting in road closures late Monday evening into Tuesday.
Areas most affected by the storm were New Jersey and New York City.
Although the Shippensburg borough had declared a state of emergency last Monday, the area dodged the worst parts of Sandy, receiving only excessive rainfall and heavy winds. The state of emergency was lifted early Tuesday.
According to Timothy Hawkins, professor in SU’s department of geography and earth science, SU received 3.98 total inches of rain throughout the storm.
The maximum wind speed recorded on SU’s campus was 33 mph.
However, the wind was likely higher because the university’s wind vane is not in a good location, according to Hawkins.
The Harrisburg airport recorded wind gusts up to 47 mph.
Although the area Sandy hit does not often see hurricanes, Hawkins said they are always possible from November to April. However, he said this storm was out of the ordinary.
“This particular storm was unusual because a hurricane and nor’easter essentially combined into a ‘super storm.’ It is a fairly rare event but not unprecedented,” Hawkins said.
He also noted that there is discussion about whether global warming played a part.
“It is likely that the storm was at least a bit stronger and more damaging due to warmer oceans and higher sea levels that have resulted from global warming,” Hawkins said.
He said if this is true, we will continue to see stronger, more damaging storms in the future.
Most in Shippensburg were lucky enough to remain with electricity. However, millions of Americans among the East Coast sustained power outages for several days.
The American Red Cross is helping with relief efforts for all of those devastated by Hurricane Sandy.
“The Red Cross has provided more than 23,000 overnight shelter stays since Saturday. Tuesday night, more than 9,000 people stayed in 171 Red Cross shelters across 13 states,” according to www.redcross.org.
To make a $10 donation to those who need it most, call 1-800 REDCROSS or text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999.