MIAMI (Reuters) - Friday marks the end of an Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season where the greatest devastation was caused by water rather than wind, U.S. National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb said.
Accordingly, the center is ramping up efforts to develop new warnings that better convey the threat from the deadly storm surge pushed ashore by monsters like Sandy, which slammed the U.S. Northeast in October.
Just offshore, it morphed into an extra-tropical "Nor'easter," a colder storm that draws energy from the atmosphere and spreads the strongest winds over a broader area. That did not lessen the danger.
"The ocean was churned up over a long period of time by this massive wind field. Tropical or not, we knew the storm surge hazard was going to be significant," said Knabb, who had warned for days that Sandy would push a surge of seawater up to 11 feet (3.4 meters) high over parts of New York and New Jersey.