One year ago, a combination of weather systems that morphed into monster Superstorm Sandy pummeled the East Coast, killing more than 180 people and causing an estimated $65 billion in damage, making it the second-costliest cyclone in the U.S. behind Hurricane Katrina.
The Associated Press is planning multiformat coverage of the first year since Sandy's center made landfall at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at Brigantine, N.J. Many of the text stories have been sent in advance for use in print editions beginning Saturday, Oct. 26. They will go live online from throughout the weekend up to Tuesday's anniversary.
Each story is accompanied by photos. There is also an interactive, a now-and-then photo gallery and video, as detailed below.
For coverage questions, please contact East regional editor Karen Testa, 215-446-6639 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUPERSTORM-ONE YEAR LATER
NEW YORK — A year after Superstorm Sandy catastrophically flooded hundreds of miles of eastern U.S. coastline, thousands of people still trying to fix their soaked and surf-battered homes are being stymied by bureaucracy, insurance disputes and uncertainty over whether they can even afford to rebuild. Billions of dollars in federal aid appropriated months ago by Congress have yet to reach homeowners who need that money to move on. Many have found flood insurance checks weren't nearly enough to cover the damage. And worse, new federal rules mean many in high-risk flood zones may have to either jack their houses up on stilts or pilings — an expensive, sometimes impossible task — or face new insurance rates that hit $10,000 or more per year. "It's just been such a terrible burden," says Gina Maxwell, whose home in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., is still a wreck after filling with 4 feet of water. Contractors say it will cost $270,000 to rebuild — about double what the insurance paid out. The family doesn't have the money. "My son is 11. He has a little piggy bank in his room. He said, 'Take it, mom.'" By David B. Caruso. SENT IN ADVANCE: 1,370 words, photos. UPCOMING: video by 1 a.m. Tuesday. For online use at noon Saturday.
SUPERSTORM-STATE BY STATE: How states and regions are recovering a year after Sandy blew through. SENT IN ADVANCE: 850 words, photos. For online use at noon Saturday.
SUPERSTORM-TOLL: Tracking the toll of a disaster like Superstorm Sandy is not like keeping score at a baseball game. Its damage — in lives and property claimed — may never be known precisely, and there are multiple ways to count what is known. SENT IN ADVANCE: 400 words. For online use at noon Saturday.
SUPERSTORM-MAKING OF SANDY
WASHINGTON — It was the moment a run-of-the-mill hurricane mutated into a monster named Sandy. Paradoxically, it was the same time Sandy lost much of its wind power, dropping from a hurricane to a tropical storm. It was a Friday night and Sandy had just passed the Bahamas and was being enveloped by an ordinary cold front coming off the Southeast. It was changing how it got its power, where its highest winds were and even what it looked like. But mostly it was getting bigger. Dangerously large. And then it merged with a second storm, turned record huge and pivoted toward the nation's largest city. In the year since Sandy blew through the East Coast, meteorologists have pored over forecasts, satellite photos, computer models, and even the physical damage to try to get a sense of what made Sandy the demon it was. What made the superstorm dangerous and freaky in more than a dozen different ways was a meteorological trade-in: The hurricane lost some oomph in winds in return for enormous size. "It was just this monster coming at us," says one expert. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein. SENT IN ADVANCE: 1,300 words, photos. For online use at noon Sunday.
With: SUPERSTORM-SUPERLATIVES — A dozen strange weather features of Sandy. SENT IN ADVANCE: 480 words, photos. For online use at noon Sunday.
STAFFORD TOWNSHIP, N.J. — The Jersey shore's small vacation bungalows and cottages have for decades staked out little plots of paradise where families who scrimped and saved could while away summer evenings, parents having drinks on the deck and kids working the ice cream stand or stealing a first kiss under the boardwalk. Now, nearly a year after Superstorm Sandy blasted through, countless middle-class families whose tiny vacation homes were once the place to make precious memories are finding them to be a financial albatross. By Katie Zezima. SENT IN ADVANCE: 900 words, photos. For online use at 1 a.m. Saturday.
NEW YORK — The forces of nature had been threatening the Staten Island's Oakwood Beach neighborhood for years, flooding the streets every time it rained, sending crabs skittering into bungalows and swamping basements so regularly that it was just accepted as part of life. But after Superstorm Sandy swept in with 20-foot waves that crashed over roofs and killed three people, those who have lived here for generations decided it was time to go. Soon, the state will buy some 400 homes, bulldoze them and never again allow anything to be built here. Oakwood Beach will finally surrender to the sea. "The heartache of losing my home, the heartache of losing my memories, the blood and sweat and tears that I put into this home, is going to be be healed by seeing trees and nature come back to that spot right there," says Joe Monte, a construction worker who had built his dream house overlooking the ocean. "And that's going to make me feel better." The neighborhood is the first — and so far only — New York City community to be totally bought out under a state program that promises to turn wrecked neighborhoods into perpetual green space. By Meghan Barr. SENT IN ADVANCE: 1,040 words, photos. UPCOMING: video. For online use at 1 a.m. Monday.
SMALLBIZ-SMALL TALK-SANDY ONE YEAR LATER
NEW YORK — A year after Superstorm Sandy devastated small businesses in the Northeast, some companies are still waiting to find out if they're going to get government grants to help them recover. But many other small businesses have gotten private grants, from nonprofit groups and corporations, helping them to get back to work faster. The long bureaucratic process, designed to prevent fraud, has frustrated business owners and local officials. By Joyce M. Rosenberg. SENT: 1,170 words for immediate use, photos.
With: SMALLBIZ-SANDY GRANTS — A look at some of the grants available to small businesses recovering from Superstorm Sandy. SENT: 320 words for immediate use.
Also: HOMES-RAISING HOUSES — High and dry? As flood zones change, homeowners raise houses to reduce risk. SENT: 850 words for immediate use, photos.
SUPERSTORM-THEN AND NOW: A gallery of some of the memorable images from the storm, coupled with current photos now showing the same spot and recovery.
SUPERSTORM SANDY: An interactive marking the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy looks at the events leading up to the storm and its aftermath; includes a map detailing the weather systems that led to the destruction, before-and-after aerial photos of New York and New Jersey, and a map of the East Coast offering location-specific information on fallout from the storm. http://hosted.ap.org/interactives/2013/sandy-anniversary/