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Hurricane Sandy ranked as second-costliest storm behind Katrina

Hurricane Sandy ranked among the most expensive hurricanes in history — for both the United States and Cuba.

In a final report on the super storm released Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center estimated damage to the U.S. at $50 billion, the second-largest loss since 1900. Hurricane Katrina, which flooded much of New Orleans in 2005, caused $108 billion. In Cuba, losses were estimated at $2 billion, making Sandy one of the most damaging storms ever to strike the island.

Forecasters also upgraded Sandy’s strength when it struck Cuba, elevating it to a major Category 3 storm with 126 mph winds. It was a Category 1 storm through much of the rest of its march through the Caribbean and Bahamas.

Sandy, the report found, proved to be the deadliest hurricane to hit the northeastern U.S. since Hurricane Agnes killed 122 in 1972. Sandy killed 147 overall, with 72 of those on the U.S. mainland. The storm left a long trail of death, including 54 killed in Haiti, 11 in Cuba, three in the Dominican Republic, two in the Bahamas and one in Jamaica.

Sandy, which struck the Northeast on Oct. 29, was an “extraordinarily large hurricane” with gale force winds at one point extending out 870 nautical miles, according to the report. Many of the deaths and much of the disastrous damage in the Northeast was caused by storm surge, which pushed water from four to nine feet above ground levels in Staten Island, portions of Manhattan and along the coast in two counties in New Jersey. A broad swath of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast also had serious flooding.

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