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2012 in review: Superstorm Sandy slams the Northeast

Superstorm Samdy swept two-story homes from their foundations, turned neighborhoods into smoldering ruin and snuffed the southern tip of Manhattan like a candle. It scoured the eastern seaboard with such ferocity that it may have changed the terrain of the debate on climate change as much as it altered the landscape of New Jersey's beaches.

Sandy was the second most destructive storm in U.S. history, but perhaps it was the political significance of the region it devastated that prompted people to ask if climate change is making weather, and hurricanes in particular, more extreme through higher sea surface temperatures or rising sea levels.

Sandy was a meteorological fascination: It combined a massive cold front with a hurricane; its tropical storm-force winds at one point extending more than 900 miles, roughly the distance between New York and Atlanta; and, of course, it smacked the most densely populated area of the country.

At least 125 people were killed in the United States, and Sandy is blamed for more than $60 billion in damage .

The impact on the climate change debate is unclear, but Sandy is likely to stir more discussion about how we protect ourselves against nature's most powerful forces.

2012 in review: Superstorm Sandy slams the Northeast 12/28/12 [Last modified: Friday, December 28, 2012 4:10pm]
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    K12

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County high schools school will be in session from 8:30 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. starting in 2018-19, the School Board decided Tuesday in a 6-0 vote.

    The Hillsborough County School Board has decided to end a compressed bus schedule that caused an estimated 12,000 children to get to school late every day. Under the new schedule, high schools will start at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. Elementary schools will start at 7:40 a.m. and middle schools at 9:25 a.m. [Times files]
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    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

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    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, left, and former Mayor Rick Baker during a September forum. The two will will face off, possibly for the last time before the Nov. 7 election, during  a candidate forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sunshine Center, 330 5th St. N. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
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    Banking

    Sen. Bill Nelson urged FEMA on Tuesday to ensure fairness, proper oversight and transparency in processing Hurricane Irma aid following a report by the Palm Beach Post that 90 percent of Irma claims under the National Flood Insurance Program had been denied.

    Sen. Bill Nelson is calling for FEMA to ensure the flood claims process post-Hurricane Irma is fair and ethical following reports that 90 percent of claims under the National Flood Insurance Program were denied. | [Times file photo]