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Huatulco Coastline Sunrise over the coast in Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico[/caption]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 restrengthened 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