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Report: Sandy among most deadly and costly storms

The nor'easter caused more flooding along South Bay

The nor'easter caused more flooding along South Bay Street in Lindenhurst. (Nov. 8, 2012) Credit: James Carbone

Superstorm Sandy was the deadliest cyclone to hit the northeastern United States in 40 years and the second-costliest in the nation's history, according to a report by the National Hurricane Center.

The center's 157-page storm analysis, released Tuesday, attributes 72 deaths in the United States directly to Sandy. Another 87 deaths nationally were "indirectly associated" with the storm and its aftermath, such as hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning and other effects of "extended power outages during cold weather."

Of Sandy's direct fatalities, 48 were in New York, the report said, with most deaths related to flooding, storm surge and falling trees. Long Island recorded 13 deaths.

Damage to Long Island from Sandy is estimated to top half a billion dollars, according to the report. About 100,000 Long Island homes were "severely damaged or destroyed, primarily by storm surge and waves," said the report, which pointed to how Sandy ravaged Long Beach's boardwalk, Ocean Beach's boathouse and ferry terminal, and the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant.

A cyclone is a big wind event that includes hurricanes and typhoons, according to the weather service.

The report, which mostly focuses on meteorological factors, drew on data from other agencies as well, said James Franklin, branch chief of the hurricane specialist unit, based in Miami. Sources on damage included insurance and reinsurance estimates, and the National Flood Insurance Program.

Nationally, the cost of Sandy's damage is estimated to be at least $50 billion, the report said, which pales to Hurricane Katrina's $108 billion bill.

"Katrina was much stronger in terms of peak winds," said Eric S. Blake, hurricane specialist who co-authored the report. Sandy was so damaging, he said, because of the storm's "record size" and its hitting "an extremely populated area."

Kings Point recorded the state's highest storm surge -- 12.65 feet above normal tide level, the report said, with some areas seeing water reach 3 to 6 feet on normally dry ground. Fire Island saw a high-water mark of 5.6 feet above ground level, with Oak Beach-Captree seeing 5.5 feet.

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