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Winter storm intensity, hazards, and property losses in the New York tristate area

Shimkus, Cari Elizabeth; Ting, Mingfang; Booth, James F.; Adamo, Susana Beatriz; Madajewicz, Malgosia; Kushnir, Yochanan; Rieder, Harald

Winter storms pose numerous hazards to the Northeast United States, including rain, snow, strong wind, and flooding. These hazards can cause millions of dollars in damages from one storm alone. This study investigates meteorological intensity and impacts of winter storms from 2001 to 2014 on coastal counties in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York and underscores the consequences of winter storms. The study selected 70 winter storms on the basis of station observations of surface wind strength, heavy precipitation, high storm tide, and snow extremes. Storm rankings differed between measures, suggesting that intensity is not easily defined with a single metric. Several storms fell into two or more categories (multiple-category storms). Following storm selection, property damages were examined to determine which types lead to high losses. The analysis of hazards (or events) and associated damages using the Storm Events Database of the National Centers for Environmental Information indicates that multiple-category storms were responsible for a greater portion of the damage. Flooding was responsible for the highest losses, but no discernible connection exists between the number of storms that afflict a county and the damage it faces. These results imply that losses may rely more on the incidence of specific hazards, infrastructure types, and property values, which vary throughout the region.

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More Information

Published In
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publisher DOI
https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13396
Volume
1400
Issue
1
Pages
65 - 80
Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
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