On Oct. 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the coast of southern New Jersey. Sandy's tropical storm winds stretched over 900 miles, causing $68 billion dollars in damage – the second-costliest tropical cyclone on record – and affecting more than 50 million people across the Eastern Seaboard. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 117 people were killed as a result of the storm in the U.S.
In the days leading up to the storm, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency analysts reviewed more than 21,000 square miles of satellite data to produce pre-strike hurricane products that included images of 24 coastal cities whose critical infrastructures and key resources would be susceptible to damage if a hurricane landed in their vicinity. On Oct. 28, NGA began sending teams of analysts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s East Coast regions in Boston, New York and Philadelphia. Once on site, analysts prepared for their missions, establishing contacts with the lead federal agencies, performing communications checks with deployed equipment, evaluating customer needs and focus, and identifying vulnerable critical infrastructure.
After landfall, NGA worked closely with FEMA and the U.S. Coast Guard to provide mission-essential support by enabling access to and supplying analyzed images that led to superior situational awareness. According to Rear Adm. Christopher Tomney, director of Coast Guard Intelligence, NGA’s support was “was essential to determine our operational capabilities as we worked to support post-storm cleanup activities.”