Hurricane Sandy has proven herself/himself? to be an unusual storm. It(?) is about to take a "left hook" into the East Coast of the United States. This is a maneuver that has never been seen before and there could be more surprises.
In watching the news there are those "usual people" saying we've ridden out these storms before and we are staying. I'm reminded of some Hurricane Katrina stories of similar actions by people who ended up dying in their attics.
As emergency managers we know that bad things happen. What causes calamities is when there is a combination of events and circumstances that come together to cause "unusual" events that have not normally been seen before.
I think there is a good chance that Sandy could be one of the Black Swan events I've written about previously. It is coming ashore at time of a full moon with high tides. And, there is another storm in the region that it could merge with, a North Easterner of the type that can cause tremendous amounts of damage all on its own.
The dangers are storm surge and then a huge quantity of rain that will extend well inland. Think how Tropical Storm Irene caused billions of dollars in damage in areas that had not seen flooding like it before.
I don't think New York is taking the same level of precautions they did for Irene. Time will tell if that was a good decision or not. The fact that the storm is slow moving does not bode well for rainfall totals.