2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season draws to a close

The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season wrapped up on November 30th, so I thought we’d take a look back at the season. What a year it was in the Atlantic. Several memorable storms, but every storm that developed this year will be overshadowed thanks to the monster storm that was Hurricane Sandy. We’ll get to her later though in this recap of the hurricane season.

This year’s hurricane season got off to a very quick start with two tropical storms developing in late May before the official start of the hurricane season on June 1st. Something like that hasn’t happened since the 1908 hurricane season.

Tropical Storms Chris and Debby formed in June making it the first time there had been 4 named storms before July since record keeping began in 1851. July calmed down considerably with no named storms forming. The ensuing months would pick back up again with 8 named storms forming in August. That tied a record with 2004 for most named storms in the month of August. September and October would continue to be busy. November has seen no named storms. Below are a few of the memorable tropical cyclones from this year.


Isaac got going way out in the Atlantic and became a tropical storm on August 21st. It made its trek through the Lesser Antilles then into Hispaniola and Cuba dropping torrential rains as a strong tropical storm. Isaac’s interaction kept it from strengthening quickly as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico. It passed to the west of Florida, but was large enough to cancel a portion of the Republican National Convention. Issac became a hurricane just before it made landfall in Louisiana on August 28th. It took 9 lives in the United States and did 2.3 billion dollars in damage from a combination of wind, rain, and storm surge.


Hurricane Michael really had no major impacts on any land areas during its lifetime. The only thing that makes Michael noteworthy is that it was the only major hurricane of the entire season. It reached category 3 status for about 12 hours in early September.


Nadine was a go-getter of a storm. It formed on September 11th and didn’t die until October 4th. It is the 5th longest lived tropical cyclone in history. It went quite the crazy journey as you can see by its path below. It went from a hurricane to becoming a subtropical storm then strengthening back into a tropical cyclone then a hurricane. It was a bit unreal. Nadine made 4 cyclonic loops in its 21.75 day lifetime and at peak intensity had winds of 90 mph. What a life she lived!


Well this was a special one that’s for sure. Sandy started out as a tropical cyclone, but through a very odd and rare interaction with neighboring weather systems, Sandy turned herself into a Superstorm. Sandy formed into a tropical storm on October 22nd and made its approach to the island of Jamaica. The island was hit hard by the land falling category 1 hurricane. After Sandy moved through Cuba and the Bahamas it was becoming increasingly ominous that the storm not head out to sea but instead recurve towards the East Coast.

As the storm eventually curved towards New Jersey, Sandy swelled in size growing its wind field to over 1,000 miles in diameter. While Sandy wasn’t the strongest hurricane to even impact the United States, its shear size and slow movement made it a monster. The storm claimed 131 lives in the United States and total cost of the storm is estimated to be around 65 million dollars. That makes Sandy the second-most costly natural disaster in U.S. history.

It was a busy, memorable, but unfortunately tragic season in the Atlantic. There were a total of 19 named storms in the Atlantic. That makes this year tied with four other years for the 3rd busiest hurricane season. With 19 named storms, this also means this is the first time in known history that three consecutive years have seen 19 named storms. Below are the tracks that these 19 storms took this year.

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