Filed Under:Claims, Catastrophe & Restoration

Wind v. Water Damage: Forensic Meteorology's Role in Post-Sandy Claims

Weather Data and Coverage Determinations

(Editor's Note: This article has been contributed by Howard Altschule, a forensic meteorologist and president of Forensic Weather Consultants, LLC.)

Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy (formerly known as Hurricane Sandy) made landfall over Atlantic City, N.J. at 8:00 p.m. EDT on October 29, 2012 with sustained winds of 80 miles per hour. The effects of the storm were felt far and wide, as the strong winds and storm surge occurred far from where the storm made landfall. Record-breaking storm surge, hurricane-force winds, widespread wind damage and power outages have resulted. Unfortunately, the storm also caused numerous injuries and fatalities. 

Thousands of data reports from a variety of sources are assimilated and physics-based processes are run to determine what the conditions were during the course of the storm. This combined with storm surge/tide data helps forensic experts determine what the wind and surge conditions likely were at a specific address. The data can be used in conjunction with other official weather data, bulletins and reports to determine if the storm was a named storm at the time of landfall and if named-storm deductibles were triggered. The data can be presented in detailed tables and graphs, and these reports can then be used to make coverage decisions necessary for claims processing and resolving any litigation that could arise.

See related: The Debate About Hurricane Deductibles Begins

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