Hurricane Isaac as it approaches landfall in Southeast Louisiana (NASA)

But despite the large number of named storms, the total amount of storm energy (accumulated cyclone energy) was just somewhat above average as we had only one major hurricane and a number of weaker storms which stayed out in the open ocean.

“Based on the combined number, intensity, and duration of all tropical storms and hurricanes, NOAA classifies the season as above-normal. 2012 was an active year, but not exceptionally so as there were 10 busier years in the last three decades,” NOAA wrote in its seasonal recap released today.

The seasonal activity was more than predicted by NOAA thanks to the fact El Nino failed to develop as forecast. El Ninos tend to suppress storm activity.

Irrespective of the statistics, the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season left its mark with severe impacts from Hurricane Isaac and Sandy along the Gulf and Northeast coasts. NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory has constructed an animation of the hurricane season - in its entirety - compressed into 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Watch it here...