Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. has a wonderful piece in today's Wall Street Journal that explains that hurricanes like Sandy are not the "new normal" and that we are in a hurricane "drought." He also explains why hurricanes have become so costly.
So how can today's disasters, even if less physically powerful than previous ones, have such staggering financial costs? One reason: There are more people and more wealth in harm's way. Partly this is due to local land-use policies, partly to incentives such as government-subsidized insurance, but mostly to the simple fact that people like being on the coast and near rivers.
Please read his entire article at the link above.