Hurricane Sandy was a monster storm that generated unprecedented misery across an enormous territory, in large part because it merged with a polar system and became "Frankenstorm."
But there have been several other shocking storms that either went against nature's grain, took weird paths, or burgeoned to record-setting strength. Many formed in the fall or the early spring, when the atmosphere was in a volatile state of transition, experts say.
"The strength of these systems then can lead to other things such as record cold, strong winds, rain and snow," said meteorologist Robert Molleda, of the National Weather Service in Miami. Here are the most unusual storms, as identified by the experts:
Storm of the Century
After producing everything from blizzards to 100 mph gusts over the Southeast, the storm hit South Florida with intense squalls on March 13, 1993. Jim Lushine, a retired weather service meteorologist, said he remembers it vividly because he was moving at the time. "I was carrying furnishings to the third floor while winds gusted to 50 mph," he said.
The system made a total of six landfalls, three in Florida in November 1994. "It spawned four tornadoes in Palm Beach County, including one that struck Delray Beach, causing $150,000 in damage to roofs and patios along A1A," Lushine recalls.
The Perfect Storm
Also known as the Halloween Nor'easter of 1991, the system was the basis for the 2000 movie about a fishing boat's unsuccessful attempt to outmaneuver the storm. Like Sandy, the storm lashed the Northeast after merging with a non-tropical system. It was called "perfect" because conditions had to be just right for two systems to join and feed off one another, said AccuWeather.com senior meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.
After forming east of the Bahamas, the system moved far east into the Atlantic, not far from the Azores, looped back and hit North Carolina as a Category 1 system in September and October 1971. "Probably my favorite oddball storm of all time," said Phil Klotzbach, a climatologist with Colorado State University.
Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne
In a strange tropical two-step, Frances and Jeanne hit in almost the same spot near Stuart in September 2004. Frances hit as a Category 2 and Jeanne as a Category 3, only three weeks and eight miles apart. Experts say it would be rare for two hurricanes to hit the same general area within a 10-year-span.
South Florida remembers Wilma for plowing across the region at Category 2 strength in October 2005. But the system claimed fame when it morphed into the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record while in the northwest Caribbean six days earlier. At the time, it had sustained winds of 185 mph.
San Ciriaco Hurricane
Emerging in August 1899, the storm lasted a record 33 days. In that time, it plowed over Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, squeezed between the Bahamas and South Florida and then struck North Carolina before bouncing back into the Atlantic. By the time it died near Ireland, it had traveled about 8,600 miles.
1989 Christmas Snowstorm
The system brought arctic temperatures and heavy snow to much of the nation's mid-section as well as the Southeast, destroying citrus crops in Central Florida. "The event actually caused the citrus growing areas of Florida to permanently shift south closer to Lake Okeechobee," Lushine said. "At least six people died of hypothermia."Copyright © 2015, CT Now