In the year since Superstorm Sandy blew through the East Coast, meteorologists have pored over forecasts, satellite photos, computer models, and even the physical damage to try to get a sense of what made Sandy the demon it was.
Put simply, what made the superstorm dangerous and freaky in more than a dozen different ways was a meteorological trade-in: The hurricane lost some oomph in winds in return for enormous size. And just like Katrina seven years earlier, Sandy caused so much havoc because of its record girth, National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb said, adding: "Smaller versions of those same storms would not have had the same scope of disasters."
Sandy's breadth pushed much more water into New Jersey and New York, dropped 3 feet of snow in West Virginia, caused 20-foot waves on the distant Great Lakes and registered other records reflecting whopping energy. It meant at least 182 deaths and $65 billion in damage in the United States, the second-costliest weather disaster in American history behind only Katrina, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"I don't know if we'll ever see another storm like this," said James Franklin, hurricane center chief forecaster. "The atmosphere can do a lot of weird stuff. I don't want more like this."