1 Day before Sandy

Sunday, October 28th 

harbor 1

Sunday morning at the Marina saw another indication of what was to come. On the black steel piling over on the left one can see the vertical darker line which shows where the dock typically floats up to. At this point the level of the dock is about 3 feet below the highest high tide of the year. With 3 more high tides to come before the peak of the storm, already the Stevens’ forecast for a four- or five- foot or greater storm surge (above the usual 5’ increase that is typically seen at high tide) seems very, very possible.

harbor 2

I couldn’t recall seeing the floating docks anywhere up near the level of the pier deck before.

harbor 3

In planning for a surge I had realized that some of the pilings that secure the Marina’s docks were taller then others. The line of pilings that run east-west along the pier are mostly 18” taller than the smaller pilings that hold the narrower finger docks in place, like the one in the foreground. Two nights before the storm hit we moved the boat to a berth along the dock held in place by the taller pilings.

harbor 4

Twenty-four hours before the storm peaks you can see the floating dock barely 5’ below the top of the piling (with the white cap on top). At this point it seemed likely the docks were in danger of floating up to the point where they would no longer be held in place by these pilings!

harbor 5

The high tide Sunday evening was already at a minor flood stage for Hoboken Terminal. It is not unusual for this parking lot to be filled with water a number of times over the course of a year. Elevation is low, drainage in this old plaza is poor, and a lot of water runs off Hudson Place to the west to pool in this area. Still seeing this amount of water in the plaza before an significant amount of rain has fallen, and now 24 hours before the storm and the surge really peak was eye opening. I posted this photo to my personal facebook page, it was tweeted by the Mayor of Hoboken, and many people started to see instantly this was going to be a major storm mega-event.

surge probability

BLUE CLASSROOM was docked in the middle of the orange circle, which is close to two thresholds in the model.  The greener area extending north had a smaller chance of such a surge, whereas the more orange area south of Castle Point had a greater than 40% chance.   As the storm played out, Castle Point did create somewhat of a funnel effect, allowing water to spill into West Hoboken across the rail yards. It’s also notable that the surge was greater to the north than was expected at this time.

see more hurricane sandy

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