In a lot of ways, we're lucky here in the NW. In this specific instance, I'm talking about the fact that a lot of our waves come from far away storms (from up towards Alaska in the Fall or from way down by Antarctica in the Summer. Of course, the winter storms are an exception to this. Strong south winds and days of soaking rain are just a part of life here, but they don't typically cause much damage. For those that live at the coast, it just means hunkering down inside for a while, reading, working, storm watching... The lifestyle of the NW coast is set up for those situations.
On the east coast, however, it's a little different. As far as surfing goes, many of the waves come from short to mid period wind swells. Hurricane season is the best chance to get clean, long period, sizable swell. It's risky business to hope for strong hurricanes, though. Beggers can't be choosers, and not all hurricanes will stay out in the Atlantic without hitting land at some point.
Hurricane Sandy brought the southern states some of the best swell they have seen in a long, long time. In Florida, the waves were so good that there were comparisons to storms as far back as the 60's. If parts of Florida were that good consistently, it could actually rank up there as a world class surf destination. You can see some amazing video of Florida's swell here.
On the other hand, the central and northeast coasts are devastated, with over 50 people dying, 50 houses burning down in a single neighborhood, thousands of people homeless due to their houses flooding, power outages for millions, flooded subways in NYC, 6 hour lines at the gas pumps, etc. It will be a long time before life returns to normal for the people effected by the storm...if it returns to "normal" at all.
There are currently massive efforts related to relief and clean-up, and it's amazing to see the surf community over there stepping up. Folks from Eastern Surf Magazine are driving up the coast, picking up donated goods along the way to help families in need, Pilgrim Surf Shop in New York is organizing a group of people to drive out to Rockaway beach with clothing, necessities, and helping hands. There are just a couple examples out of many of the surf community coming together to help. It's inspiring to see.
Even though we're on the opposite coast, Please consider donating to the recovery efforts. Waves for Water is one of the many reputable places to donate. You can read about their relief effort here. We hope that the communities recover soon.