In the Last Two Years, This American City Has Been Hit by a Hurricane, a Tornado, a Two-Foot Snowstorm and a 13-Inch Rainstorm
Graphic Credit: US Census Bureau
Fellow WeatherNation meteorologist Karissa Klos came running into the studio last night as I was preparing for a show, she was excited. “Chris, Chris, you have to see this,” she said. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what weather nerds do when they discover (credit: NWS Upton, New York) a location has been hit by a rare foursome of extreme weather. In a two-year span this area was hit by an extremely destructive hurricane, a tornado, a two-foot blizzard and a 13-inch rainstorm. So, where is this place of meteorological doom? Probably not where you’d expected. Islip, New York sits in the middle of the South Shore of Long Island. This location makes it vulnerable to tropical systems and wintertime “Nor’easters” — big, coastal lows notorious for dumping huge snows along the northern East Coast. But even with somewhat ominous geography, getting these four weather events to occur in one place over a 24-month span is quite remarkable. The city’s streak of bad luck started in August 2012, when a rare EF-0 tornado tore a 4.5 mile path through part of the town. The tornado damaged cars and homes with 85-mph winds. Then, in late October 2012, Islip took the brunt of Hurricane Sandy. The “superstorm” created massive waves and piled nearly 21,000 tons of debris on the town of 330,000+ residents. Islip recorded a 90-mph wind gust during Sandy. The storm caused at least $1.1 million in damage in the town, hammering several waterfront properties and even closing off Islip’s primary beach for nine months. Islip’s Sandy cleanup efforts were dealt a significant blow in early February 2013 when an epic Nor’easter roared through the region — dropping an astonishing 27.8″ of snow and producing gale-force winds at the town’s airport. It also forced the temporary closure of Islip’s main thoroughfare into New York City — the Long Island Expressway — and brought life to a virtual standstill.
Last, but certainly not least, was last week’s rainstorm of near epic proportions. The storm dumped 13.57″ on the town, shattering New York State’s highest-ever recorded 24-hour rainfall total. The massive amount of rain was blamed for flooding numerous homes and closing off almost all of Islip’s highways during last Wednesday’s busy commute. It’s certainly a (lack of) luck of the draw type of situation to see that kind of weather converge on one place of 163 square miles over a two-year span. And hopefully it won’t happen again anytime soon. Here’s a tip of the cap to the hardy citizens of Islip, who truly have seen first-hand all that Mother Nature has to offer from her versatile collection of weapons.
Meteorologist Chris Bianchi