The 2012 hurricane season will be remembered most due to the tremendous destruction caused by Sandy. The mid-Atlantic and Northeast will be in a recovery mode for years to come. Property damage will even surpass Katrina's due to the wide swath of hurricane force winds over a densely populated region.
The massive near 20 foot storm surge over Long Island also added to the misery. Storm surge flooding swamped Manhattan subways and erased boardwalks along the New Jersey shores. When the boardwalk collapsed in Seaside New Jersey, an amusement park was pushed into the Atlantic. Back to back record seasons have left the biggest scares mainly in the Northeast. Businesses and home owners were still patching things up from 2011's hurricane Irene when Sandy showed up.
The 2012 season was off to an early start when Alberto and Beryl formed in May. All total there would be 19 named storms, 10 hurricanes and one major hurricane Michael. This is well above the average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes on any given year. About the only good thing this hurricane season is that tropical Storm Beryl and later Debby would help end the drought over Florida.
Our closest brush with a hurricane came when hurricane Isaac made landfall in Louisiana in late August. Isaac's slow movement caused storm surge and inland fresh water flooding across the southern portion of Louisiana. Isaac's winds even briefly reversed the flow of water in the Mississippi.
The biggest reason this year's hurricane season was more active than forecast was the absence of El Nino. That trend continues today as its presence typically helps suppress tropical cyclones. Here's hoping El Nino does return and helps keep the cyclones away from the Texas gulf coast next year.