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The real danger comes from the potentially huge storm surges the hurricane could cause along coastal areas. NOAA put the storm surge threat from Sandy at 5.7 on that 6 point scale—greater than any hurricane observed between 1969 and 2005,
"The coincidence of that strong of a high pressure “block” being in place just when a hurricane is passing by — in and of itself a very rare occurrence — is just mind bogglingly rare. It’s the kind of stuff that’s important enough to rewrite meteorological textbooks. The result: Instead of heading out to sea Sandy’s full force will be turned back against the grain and directed squarely at the East Coast."