Tonawanda News

October 31, 2012

Statistics speak to limited storm damage in area

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

— Sandy’s high winds and heavy wain battered the Tonawandas overnight Monday, but it was clear when the sun rose Tuesday the area was spared the worst of it.

“The National Weather Service says that gusts over 58 mph are damaging,” Local weather guru Jack Kanack, of North Tonawanda, said. “We were just below that criteria.” 

Kanack’s high-technology backyard weather station on North Meadow Avenue is able to measure the wind and the rain, providing the area with local, accurate storm numbers. He detailed the area’s peak wind, the average of the windiest two-minutes of the day, as well as the peak gust of any one moment. 

He said in North Tonawanda, Monday’s peak sustained wind came in at 21.7 mph at 11:39 p.m and the peak gust at 44.5 mph at 7:51 p.m.

Tuesday, the peak wind occurred at 6:07 a.m. at 38.3 mph, and the peak gust at about 5:52 a.m. at 47 mph. 

“I knew we would be right on the edge of whether it would be damaging or not,” Kanack said. “But another 5 or 10 mph would have done it.” 

Despite the threatening forecast, Kanack said he didn’t think the storm would live up to all the Buffalo hype. 

“I just didn’t see quite the dynamics to see a type of large-scale wind event,” he said. “It coming from the coastline and a lot of it bumping against the mountains, I felt we weren’t going to get that kind of wind.” 

The Tonawanda streets also saw limited flooding Tuesday night. The weather service said the front’s rain began Friday, and, in total, North Tonawanda saw between 2.15 and 2.93 inches of rain in the four-day span. 

The town had between 1.53 and 2.72 inches. 

But other areas weren’t as lucky. According to Kanack, Battery Park in Lower Manhattan experienced 13.8 feet of storm surge, breaking a 200-year record by three feet. 

“That’s why everything was a mess down there,” Kanack said. 

At JFK Airport last night, the wind gusted at a high of 79 mph. The city saw much less rain, however and wind caused the majority of the devastation. 

Although the Tonawandas didn’t see much damage, areas closer to the water, such as Olcott and Wilson did experience some destruction.

According to Jim Mitchell of the National Weather Service, much of the damage there was due to the winds coming from a different direction than they normally do. 

“We did get what we expected in terms of that,” he said. “Many, many trees were down in the Southern Tier. They are used to the westerly component of the wind, so they are not anchored in as well when the wind comes from the other direction.”

Although the storm is now winding down, its effects will be seen in the area until the weekend, according to Mitchell.

“Rain will be continuing for the week,” he said. “We are going to see remnants of the storm moving toward us, but they are weakening. It will be a normal fall week, pretty much.”

But Kanack said he’s hopeful for a clear trick-or-treating night. 

“We might get a spit of rain, but it looks like it is going to be a good Halloween,” he said. 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.



Sandy Stats • North Tonawanda's high gust of wind measured at 47 mph at 5:52 a.m. Tuesday, with one coming in at 44.5 mph Monday at 7:51 p.m. • Comparatively, the hardest hit area of the county, New York City, had a high gust of 79 mph Monday night at 8 p.m. • North Tonawanda saw 2.93 inches of rain in the last four days. • New York City didn't see much rain in comparison, with wind and storm surge being the biggest factor.


Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.