Tomorrow finally marks the end of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season—and it’s been one for the record books. As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports today, this season produced 19 names storms, 10 of which became hurricanes and one that became a major hurricane. The sheer number of named storms is well above the average of 12, but the number of major hurricanes was below the average of three. Altogether, it was enough for NOAA to classify the 2012 season as above-normal—though not exceptionally so.
You’re probably assuming that the one major hurricane was Sandy—but you’d be wrong. The only storm above a Category 1 or 2 was Hurricane Michael, a Category 3 storm that never made landfall. Sandy, despite the destruction it left, was a Category 2 at its strongest, and was only a Category 1 when it made landfall in the U.S. It’s another reminder that the timing and location of a hurricane matters just as much—if not more—than its sheer strength. It’s also a sign that the 2012 season could have been much worse—this marks the seventh consecutive year that no major hurricane (Category 3 or above) hit the U.S.
But before we consign the 2012 hurricane season to history, check out the NOAA video above that shows every storm—crunched down to less than five minutes