The Integrated Kinetic Energy or IKE* is a metric that quantifies the energy of a storm based on how far out tropical-storm force winds extend from the center.

Brian McNoldy best decribes what happened with the Storm Surge from SANDY. He says, “The horrific storm surge flooding in New Jersey and New York caused by Sandy was almost perfectly predicted well in advance, but was more extreme than the average person might expect from a minimal hurricane. That’s where Sandy’s immense size comes into play.”

It was 2010 when NOAA and the National Hurricane Center dropped Storm Surge from the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale because Hurricanes CHARLEY (2004) and IKE (2008) revealed that the height of Storm Surge was not directly related to the hurricane’s peak winds. IKE was only a category 2 storm, but it produced a storm surge of 15 to 20 feet on the upper Texas coast.

I’m wondering if it is just a coincidence that hurricane IKE has the same letters as the acronym IKE, Integrated Kinetic Energy. It’s important to remember that the force that produced Sandy’s storm surge does not negate the power of the wind. The destruction of Homestead, FL from Category 5 Hurricane Andrew in 1992 looked very much like the scene of the EF-5 Joplin, MO tornado in 2011.



  1. 1 Honeyboo November 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    How does a Category 1storm create more storm surge than a category5 storm?

    • 2 geotv4 November 3, 2012 at 12:17 am

      Hurricane Andrew was a very small category 5 hurricane, but its winds did not reach out far enough to collect enough water to produce a big storm surge. Hurricane Sandy gathered water from hundreds of miles away and aimed it at Long Island, the New Jersey coast and the New York Harbor. When the water hit the shore, it was forced up much higher.

  2. 3 FeistyIrishWench November 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    The mere size of the storm does impact the force upon its target. Likewise, this storm hit during a full moon, which also contributes to the tide levels too. Also contributing to the impact is the speed that the storm travels in what ever direction it moves. A slower moving storm is going to lay more to waste because there’s simply more time being spent in one location. You, too, could do more damage, given extra time to swing a sledgehammer at a brick wall.

    • 4 geotv4 November 3, 2012 at 11:32 pm

      So true! It seems like I heard a lot more about inland flooding with Irene last year than with Sandy this year. It may be that the impact of the Storm Surge is so humongous that river floods have not been so extreme; however, a check with the National Weather Service Flood Stage reports today show only 7 rivers in the eastern half of the U.S. near Flood Stage. The rest (more than 100) from the Great Lakes to the Eastern Seaboard are reported as being below flood stage. We’re all glad Sandy is gone. Good riddance!

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