Hurricane Sandy the most energetic storm in history

October 28th, 2012 at 9:53 am by under Weather

Hurricane Sandy continues to steam towards the northeastern United States, potentially bringing a life-threatening situation to millions of people within the next 24 hours.

Sandy has not set any records with her peak wind speeds – only maxing out briefly at Category 3 status (115 mph) before impacting Cuba.  But as of this morning, she has set a record of a different sort.

A NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Sandy at 9:15am Central time Sunday morning. At the time of this image, Sandy is a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75mph.

Hurricane Sandy is now the most energetic tropical cyclone in history, due mainly to its massive wind field.

In technical terms, Sandy contains the most integrated kinetic energy of any storm in history – meaning if you add up all of the total energy contained in her incredibly large area of tropical-storm-force winds, as well as her smaller area of hurricane-force winds, there has never been a tropical cyclone in history that has contained more overall sheer power.

Sandy contains 222 terajoules of energy. Put more simply, that is 222,000,000,000,000 Joules! To put this into context, 1 Joule is about the energy contained in a tennis ball moving at 14 mph.

Track Hurricane Sandy’s progress as she heads toward the northeastern US on KXAN’s Tropical Tracker.

Comments are closed.