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Nor'easter versus Superstorm Sandy: How do they compare?

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Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 2:22 PM -

Even very early on in its development, the nor'easter pummelling Atlantic Canada looked ominous, at one point even sporting a distinct eye as the pressure began to drop.

Inevitably, comparisons were drawn between this storm, and 2012's Superstorm Sandy, which killed almost 150 people from the Caribbean to the United States, and wreaked billions of dollars in damage.

But the storms have very distinct differences.

First off, those winds that are wreaking such damage in Atlantic Canada Wednesday. The nor'easter, as of around 2 p.m. Wednesday, was packing winds gusting up to 180 km/h.

Sandy had SUSTAINED winds of 185 km/h. That's an important distinction: Strong sustained winds of that strength are more likely to cause significant damage than powerful but short-lived gusts.

In terms of central pressure, that's where the storms can be compared the best: Sandy's central pressure was a low 940 millibars. Even by the early afternoon, the nor'easter's central pressure had dropped very rapidly to 952 millibars.

In terms of precipitation, however, the difference is huge. Sandy was mostly a rain event, whereas the nor'easter, while expected to bring some rain, is very significantly a storm event.


THE SCIENCE: Meteorologist Gina Ressler has a detailed look at the science behind this powerful storm.


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