"Sandy was a classic late-season hurricane in the southwestern Caribbean Sea. The cyclone made landfall as a category 1 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) in Jamaica, and as a 100-kt category 3 hurricane in eastern Cuba before quickly weakening to a category 1 hurricane while moving through the central and northwestern Bahamas. Sandy underwent a complex evolution and grew considerably in size while over the Bahamas, and continued to grow despite weakening into a tropical storm north of those islands. The system re- strengthened into a hurricane while it moved northeastward, parallel to the coast of the southeastern United States, and reached a secondary peak intensity of 85 kt while it turned northwestward toward the mid-Atlantic states. Sandy weakened somewhat and then made landfall as a post-tropical cyclone near Brigantine, New Jersey with 70-kt maximum sustained winds. Because of its tremendous size, however, Sandy drove a catastrophic storm surge into the New Jersey and New York coastlines. Preliminary U.S. damage estimates are near $50 billion, making Sandy the second-costliest cyclone to hit the United States since 1900. There were at least 147 direct deaths recorded across the Atlantic basin due to Sandy, with 72 of these fatalities occurring in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States. This is the greatest number of U.S. direct fatalities related to a tropical cyclone outside of the southern states since Hurricane Agnes in 1972."
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/