Hurricane Sandy vs. Hurricane Irene: How Do the Two Monster Storms Compare? (VIDEO)

hurricane sandy satellite photoWhat a way to start the week. The largest hurricane to ever hit the U.S. mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, Hurricane Sandy, is already killing power and flooding shores on the east coast, and everyone's on high alert for it to be a slow-moving doozy of a storm. Kinda deja vu-ish, right? Although it was already over a year ago, it feels like it was just recently we were pummeled by another GINORMOUS storm: Hurricane Irene, which made landfall in late August 2011.

There are definitely similarities between the two wild and crazy "ladies." But make no mistake: They're not one in the same -- for better or worse. Here, the main similarities and differences between the two storms ...


Evacuations: This weekend, Sandy prompted a series of mandatory evacuation orders along the eastern seaboard, including New Jersey’s barrier islands, casinos in Atlantic City, and New York’s Fire Island. But so far, Sandy has forced fewer evacuations in the city than Irene ... but nonetheless, it's looking like a more treacherous threat.

Strength: Both Irene and Sandy were Category 1 storms. Whereas Irene was already weakening as a storm by the time it made landfall, Sandy is expected to reach land with more strength. It could even be growing when it reaches land, which means it will likely lead to higher winds from the upper atmosphere down to the surface in the form of intense wind gusts.

Diameter (extent of high winds): Irene clocked in at 520 miles, while Sandy is 940!

Wind gusts: Irene recorded one freak wind gust on Long Island that reached 91 mph. Meanwhile, forecasters at the National Weather Service see the possibility of widespread 40-50 mph sustained winds with frequent gusts up to 80 mph within the region.

Wind duration: Irene was gone within a few hours, but the high winds of Sandy could last up to 36 hours.

Rainfall: Irene was most destructive in that it caused record-breaking inland flooding with its torrential rainfall. By comparison, some sources say Sandy isn't anticipated to be nearly as intense when it comes to rainfall, but amounts exceeding six inches are likely in many parts of the tri-state area. Other reports say we could get as much as 12 inches.

Landfall: Looks like Sandy will make landfall in central or southern NJ -- maybe as far south as Delaware. Greater New York is going to get slammed with the most intense waves, wind, and storm surge. Irene made landfall directly over NYC, but the most powerful side of the storm fell on Long Island.

Deaths: Definitely a grim point to compare, but Irene killed 56, and Sandy has already claimed 65 lives as of Monday morning, with more expected.

Here's NJ Gov. Chris Christie comparing the storms ...

How do you think Sandy compares to Irene?

Image via NASA Goddard Photo and Video/Flickr

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