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U.S. tests water pollution post-Sandy

Nov. 2, 2012 at 7:51 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. Geological Survey said it was checking water quality along the U.S. East Coast for possible health issues in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Storm surge from Sandy, once a Category 1 hurricane, flooded subway stations in New York. The storm left millions of consumers without power for days. The 88 U.S. deaths attributed to Sandy brought the storm's overall death toll to 157, with 67 dead in the Caribbean and two in Canada, CNN reported.

USGS Director Marcia McNutt said storms like Sandy can have long-term effects on public health because of pollutants that could be pushed onshore through the storm surge.

"We tend to think of events like Sandy in terms of the ephemeral effect of the wind, rain, waves, and even snow as it swept through our communities but in fact this superstorm can have a longer-term effect in the large pulse of sediment and associated pollutants swept into our waterways," McNutt said in a statement.

Various reports this week attributed Sandy's ferocity to changing climate patterns. The Union of Concerned Scientists said the storm moved over ocean waters that were 9 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than average for late October.

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