Randy Krum
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Comparing Hurricane Disasters: Sandy vs. Katrina

Comparing Hurricane Disasters: Sandy vs. Katrina infographic


Comparing Disasters: Sandy vs. Katrina from The Huffington Post does a good job of clearly walking through the data to put the two mega-storm hurricanes into perspective.  Designed by Tim Wallace and Jaweed Kaleem

Over 100 people have died in the U.S. alone so far from Hurricane Sandy, and concerns are mounting that with hundreds of thousands still without power in frigid temperatures, the death toll will continue to climb. As the East Coast examines the destruction, comparisons have been made to other catastrophic storms.

Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2005, killed over 1,800 people and cost nearly $125 billion. Both storms were deadly, destructive and devastating to the thousands who lost their homes and livelihoods. View the infographic below to see how they compare by the numbers.

Editor’s note: This infographic has been updated to to reflect new and more comprehensive data on the number of people displaced or who will potentially be displaced by Hurricane Sandy-related damage, including people in shelters and people who are not in shelters but have had to leave their homes.

This infographic design does a great job using simple data visualizations to compare the two hurricanes with visual styles that are quick and easy for the reader to understand.  I’m especially impressed with the effective use of the grid of squares visualization method.  Although normally used in blocks of 100 to show percentages, they are stacked in this design to show quantitative comparisons.  They correctly kept each row to only 10 squares, which many designers get wrong.  Our number system is base-10, so it’s incredibly easy for us to understand visuals that are stack of 10 objects.

I also appreciate that they varied the visuals to appropriately match the type of data being shown.  So, circles to show diameter, map locations to show areas effected and stacked bars are all used along with the grid of squares method.

The overall design has a white background, with no border, so when shown on a webpage that also has a white background, it’s hard to see where the infographic stops.  I usually recommend some type of background color or frame to help the infographic stand out on its own.

At the bottom, a couple elements are missing.  A Copyright or Creative Commons claim, and the URL for readers to find the original, full-size version when they see the infographic shared on other sites.

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Reader Comments (12)

Great infographic and very informative! Apart from Katrina I didn't know that there was another huge disaster named "Sandy". Great work here! :)
November 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
Certains numbers are missing a units of measure. In most cases, you can figure it out by re-reading the title, but for Peak Power Outages, the scale is 100,000. Is that people or households?

The rest is very informative (and I live in Miami, so hurricanes are pretty much a concern here)
November 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulien Delvat
Sandy is a horrible disaster. Most of the people got affected with sandy. Hope this info graphic inspires government to provide funds to the sandy victims.
November 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTop 100 infographic Sites
Evacuated before storm - isnt there a mistake? Katrina - 1 000 000 or 100 000?
November 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaKo
Nice infographic and beatifully executed to compare two horrible disasters and their powers at USA soil. You could add destruction done to Caribbean area, but then... It's not in US, so they aren't so important.
November 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAvid reader
I think the most striking thing here is the difference in power outages. Having lived in Mississippi (not the coast, but solidly in tornado alley and close enough to get strong storms from Katrina) and Massachusetts, I can definitely see why there's the discrepancy even though the storm wasn't technically as bad as Katrina. WHY ON EARTH DOES THE NORTHEAST NOT TRIM BRANCHES AWAY FROM POWER LINES?! I was sitting here in MA watching limbs dance in the power lines during Sandy. In MS, we've had storms that blew kiddie pools and patio umbrellas over multiple fences into our yard but haven't lost power because they make sure that all limbs are trimmed away from power lines.
November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterESG
@MaKo, That''s not a mistake, but it may appear so if you're thinking of New Orleans alone. If you look at the entire storm-affected area, (much more than the metro New Orleans area), you're talking about a population of millions, not hundreds of thousands.
Check this out:

November 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisaPalNOLA
A lot of people got affected by sandy and I hope that this would never happen again
December 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVedette
You forgot about Delaware.
December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterA
Sandy effected more than three states. Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts where also severely affected.
December 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDeepdwn8
The main differences between these two storms was people it effected, Katrina affected more minorities, where Sandy affected rich white folk, that is why bush really didn't care that a hurricane happened, then he had to run damage control.
December 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAuthor
Thank you so much for that!!!! You helped me pass my geography exam <3
May 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAuthor

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