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What is that? May 21, 2023

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Nobody got in touch with us about last week’s photo (see below).

The sign by the South Ferry office, with just the name “Sandy,” indicates the high water mark, 5.5 feet above normal, from Superstorm Sandy, which hit the Island in late October 2012.

(Credit: Ambrose Clancy)

Winds from a huge and long-lived hurricane began building around the Island that autumn, even though it was hundreds of miles away off Cape Hatteras.

As the storm moved north then west toward the New Jersey shore, its far-reaching winds reached a steady 50 mph with occasional gusts of 70 mph and more on the Island. The big story of Superstorm Sandy was the surge driven by the storm’s wide and fierce wind field.

It pushed water into Long Island Sound and the Peconic Bay system on a day of full-moon tides, breaking through to Coecles Harbor and across Reel Point, flooding the Ram Island Causeways and Bridge Street as well as many other low-lying areas — but thankfully with little serious damage.

Cliff Clark, president of South Ferry, said Sandy was truly historic. The storm surge and high tides hadn’t been so high since Hurricane Carol struck in 1954, he said.

What made this tangle with a hurricane even more perilous was the duration of Sandy, with a time frame of three high tides.

Bridg Hunt, general manager of North Ferry, also said he’d never seen anything like Sandy.

Because of weather conditions and deep flooding at the loading ramps, North Ferry was forced to close for 15 hours.