Busy '12 hurricane season comes to end

Northeast Florida saw devastating flooding during summer storms

Published On: Nov 30 2012 11:21:59 AM EST   Updated On: Nov 30 2012 12:40:47 PM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season officially ends Friday, and it was a busy one.

On average, there are 12 named storms in a season. But this year there were 19, and more than half of them turned into hurricanes.

While many are still trying to move forward on the East Coast more than a month after Superstorm Sandy, northeast Florida this year also saw some devastation of its own.

Channel 4 hurricane expert George Winterling said the area saw its share of storms, from Debbie to Beryl to Isaac to Sandy.

Not all packed hurricane force winds, but Winterling said the water Debby and Beryl dumped in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia is often just as dangerous.

"More people lose their lives from floods than from the winds of a hurricane, and so it's a serious thing that it's, in fact, not a hurricane but just a tropical storm."

Winterling said every season, there's a storm that stands out, and this year it was Sandy.

While it inched by the Jacksonville coast, churning surf and bringing rip currents, those to the north saw the brunt of the storm.

That's why local Red Cross volunteers headed up to help immediately, and six of them are still there.

"These are volunteers. They leave their home, they leave their families, they leave their homes during Thanksgiving, and they travel across the country to be with people that they've never met, they'll never see again, but to lend them a helping hand," said Christian Smith, Red Cross director of public support.

Jerry Francis was one of those volunteers who went north. He came home, but this week headed back, determined and dedicated to do even more.

The Red Cross says weather is a big challenge. Storms don't usually hit so late, and it's cold in New York and New Jersey now.

Smith said it's a lesson to always be prepared.

"It doesn't matter if it's June or if it's November, something can happen in this community at any time, especially when it comes to large scale storms," she said.

Another thing about large scale storms is the recovery is never quick. The Red Cross expects this to be a long process and for volunteers to be involved for more weeks, possibly months.