Sandy totals less than 4 inches of rain on campus
Hurricane Sandy devastated a large portion of the East Coast with high winds and torrential rain, but wasn’t nearly as strong in the Shippensburg area.
October was the ninth wettest month since record keeping began, according to Dr. Timothy W. Hawkins, professor and graduate program coordinator in Shippensburg University’s geography-earth science department. Of the 5.49 inches of rain in October, he said Hurricane Sandy totaled 3.98 inches.
He said the highest recorded wind speed was 33 miles per hour.
The storm promoted what Hawkins called “a double whammy” with high winds and rain. “Hurricane rains form in spiral bands that rotate counterclockwise around the center of the storm. Depending on whether you specifically get hit by the heart of the band determines whether you get a lot of rain or an enormous amount of rain. This also explains why the rain comes in waves. Heavy rain periods correspond to a rain band passing while lighter rain periods correspond to the times between bands.”
He also said the fastest winds in a hurricane “are above the surface where there is less friction from trees, buildings, mountains, etc. The heavy rains in the spiral rain bands, literally drag and force the faster winds up above down closer to the surface. That’s why the periods of hardest rain is associated with the fastest wind gusts. It’s a double whammy of sorts.”
Hawkins said the strength of the storm also diminished as it came inland and was not as powerful as originally predicted.
The Department of Geography and Earth Science presents current weather conditions on campus, weather data and a weather watch cam here.