2012 Atlantic hurricane season
2012 Atlantic hurricane season summary map
Season summary map
Seasonal boundaries
First system formed May 19, 2012
Last system dissipated October 29, 2012
Strongest storm
Name Sandy
 • Maximum winds 115 mph (185 km/h)
 • Lowest pressure 940 mbar (hPa; 27.76 inHg)
Seasonal statistics
Total depressions 19
Total storms 19
Hurricanes 10
Major hurricanes
(Cat. 3+)
Total fatalities 200 Direct, 155 Indirect
Total damage ≥ $79.2 billion (2012 USD)
Atlantic hurricane seasons
2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season was the last of three extremely active seasons as a result of a continuing strong La Nina forming in the summer, though many storms were weak. This season featured a total of 19 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. This season is tied for third most active along with, 1887, 1995, 2010, and 2011. The strongest storm was Hurricane Sandy, a late-season hurricane that caused over $75 billion in damages.



Tropical Storm Alberto

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Alberto May 19 2012 1610Z.jpg Alberto 2012 track.png
Duration May 19 – May 22
Peak intensity 60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  995 mbar (hPa)

Alberto was a short-lived pre-season tropical storm near the southeastern U.S. coast.[1]

Tropical Storm Beryl

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Beryl May 27 2012 1835Z.jpg Beryl 2012 track.png
Duration May 26 – May 30
Peak intensity 70 mph (110 km/h) (1-min)  992 mbar (hPa)

Beryl was a pre-season tropical storm that made landfall in northeastern Florida and subsequently affected portions of the southeastern United States. It was the strongest pre-season tropical cyclone of record to make landfall in the United States.[2]

Hurricane Chris

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Hurricane Chris Jun 21 2012 1330Z.jpg Chris 2012 track.png
Duration June 18 – June 22
Peak intensity 85 mph (140 km/h) (1-min)  974 mbar (hPa)

Chris was a category 1 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) of non-tropical origins. No June tropical cyclone became a hurricane farther north than Chris.[3]

Tropical Storm Debby

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Debby Jun 24 2012 1900Z.jpg Debby 2012 track.png
Duration June 23 – June 27
Peak intensity 65 mph (100 km/h) (1-min)  992 mbar (hPa)

Debby was a large tropical storm that formed in the south-central Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in the Florida Big Bend region. It caused considerable freshwater flooding, primarily in central and northern Florida.[4]

Hurricane Ernesto

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Ernesto Aug 7 2012 1920Z.jpg Ernesto 2012 track.png
Duration August 1 – August 10
Peak intensity 100 mph (155 km/h) (1-min)  973 mbar (hPa)

Ernesto was a weak tropical storm as it passed through the Windward Islands and eastern Caribbean Sea. It quickly strengthened over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and became a category 2 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) just before landfall along the coast of the southern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.[5]

Tropical Storm Florence

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Florence Aug 4 2012 1530Z.jpg Florence 2012 track.png
Duration August 3 – August 6
Peak intensity 60 mph (95 km/h) (1-min)  1002 mbar (hPa)

Florence was a short-lived tropical storm over the eastern Atlantic Ocean that dissipated east of the northern Leeward Islands.[6]

Tropical Storm Helene

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Helene Aug 17 2012 1650Z.jpg Helene 2012 track.png
Duration August 9 – August 18
Peak intensity 45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  1004 mbar (hPa)

Helene had two brief periods of existence as a tropical cyclone and made landfall as a tropical depression near Tampico, Mexico.[7]

Hurricane Gordon

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Gordon Aug 18 2012 15.50(UTC).jpg Gordon 2012 track.png
Duration August 15 – August 20
Peak intensity 110 mph (175 km/h) (1-min)  965 mbar (hPa)

Gordon reached category 2 status (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) in the north Atlantic. It weakened to a category 1 hurricane before it moved over Santa Maria Island in the Azores.[8]

Hurricane Isaac

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Isaac Aug 28 2012 1630Z.jpg Isaac 2012 track.png
Duration August 21 – September 1
Peak intensity 80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  965 mbar (hPa)

Isaac was a tropical cyclone that spent most of its life as a tropical storm but became a category 1 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) a few hours before making landfall in southeastern Louisiana. The cyclone produced heavy rainfall and inland flooding across portions of the Caribbean as it moved through the Lesser Antilles, and it made landfalls along the southwestern peninsula of Haiti and extreme eastern Cuba. Isaac became a large tropical cyclone and caused extensive storm surge and inland flooding over southern Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana. Isaac is estimated to be directly responsible for 34 deaths: 24 in Haiti, 5 in the Dominican Republic, and 5 in the United States.[9]

Tropical Storm Joyce

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Joyce Aug 23 2012 1600Z.jpg Joyce 2012 track.png
Duration August 22 – August 24
Peak intensity 40 mph (65 km/h) (1-min)  1006 mbar (hPa)

Joyce was a short-lived tropical storm over the eastern North Atlantic that did not affect land.[10]

Hurricane Kirk

Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS)
Kirk Aug 30 2012 1610Z.jpg Kirk 2012 track.png
Duration August 28 – September 2
Peak intensity 105 mph (165 km/h) (1-min)  970 mbar (hPa)

Kirk was a small category 2 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) that spent its life over the central and northeastern Atlantic.[11]

Hurricane Leslie

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Leslie Sept 5 2012 1710Z.jpg Leslie 2012 track.png
Duration August 30 – September 11
Peak intensity 80 mph (130 km/h) (1-min)  968 mbar (hPa)

Leslie was a long-lived tropical cyclone but a short-lived category 1 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) that skirted Bermuda and made landfall as a strong extratropical storm along the Burin Peninsula of southeastern Newfoundland. Hurricane Leslie was also the eighth tropical storm to form in August, tying a record for most named storms in a month[12]

Hurricane Michael

Category 3 hurricane (SSHWS)
Michael Sep 06 2012 16.20(UTC).jpg Michael 2012 track.png
Duration September 3 – September 11
Peak intensity 115 mph (185 km/h) (1-min)  964 mbar (hPa)

Michael was briefly a category 3 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) as it moved over the east-central Atlantic Ocean. Michael is only the fifth major hurricane in the satellite era to develop from a disturbance of non-tropical origin.[13]

Hurricane Nadine

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Nadine Sep 30 2012 1535Z.jpg Nadine 2012 track.png
Duration September 10 – October 3
Peak intensity 90 mph (150 km/h) (1-min)  978 mbar (hPa)

Nadine was an unusually long-lived tropical cyclone that completed three loops over the eastern subtropical Atlantic. Nadine attained hurricane strength on two occasions, a record thirteen days apart.[14]

Tropical Storm Oscar

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Oscar Oct 4 2012 1330Z.jpg Oscar 2012 track.png
Duration October 3 – October 5
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  994 mbar (hPa)

Oscar was a short-lived tropical storm over the eastern Atlantic Ocean that did not affect land.[15]

Tropical Storm Patty

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Patty Oct 11 2012 1515Z.jpg Patty 2012 track.png
Duration October 11 – October 13
Peak intensity 45 mph (75 km/h) (1-min)  1005 mbar (hPa)

Patty was a short-lived, nearly stationary tropical storm over the western Atlantic Ocean just east of the Bahamas.[16]

Hurricane Rafael

Category 1 hurricane (SSHWS)
Error creating thumbnail: Invalid thumbnail parameters
Rafael 2012 track.png
Duration October 12 – October 17
Peak intensity 90 mph (150 km/h) (1-min)  969 mbar (hPa)

Rafael moved across the northern Leeward Islands as a tropical storm and became a category 1 hurricane (on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) over the Atlantic well south of Bermuda.[17]

Hurricane Sandy

Category 3 hurricane (SSHWS)
Sandy Oct 25 2012 0320Z.png Sandy 2012 track.png
Duration October 22 – October 29
Peak intensity 115 mph (185 km/h) (1-min)  940 mbar (hPa)

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.[18]

Tropical Storm Tony

Tropical storm (SSHWS)
Tony Oct 24 2012 1615Z.jpg Tony 2012 track.png
Duration October 22 – October 25
Peak intensity 50 mph (85 km/h) (1-min)  1000 mbar (hPa)

Tony was a short-lived and relatively weak tropical storm that remained over the central Atlantic through its lifetime.[19]

Storm names

The following names were used for named storms in the North Atlantic in 2012. The names not retired from this list will be used again in the 2018 season. This is the same list used in the 2006 season. The names Kirk, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sandy, and Tony were used for Atlantic storms for the first time in 2012 (and only, in the case of Sandy). The names not assigned are marked in gray.

  • Alberto
  • Beryl
  • Chris
  • Debby
  • Ernesto
  • Florence
  • Gordon
  • Helene
  • Isaac
  • Joyce
  • Kirk
  • Leslie
  • Michael
  • Nadine
  • Oscar
  • Patty
  • Rafael
  • Sandy
  • Tony
  • Valerie (unused)
  • William (unused)


On April 11, 2013, at the 35th Session of the World Meteorological Organization's Regional Association Hurricane Committee, the WMO retired the name Sandy from its rotating name lists. It was replaced with Sara for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.