World Facts

Strongest And Deadliest Hurricanes Ever Recorded

Time and again, Mother Nature has demonstrated her awesome power in one of her deadliest forms: that of hurricanes.

15. Hurricane Matthew, 2016 -

#15 Hurricane Matthew, 2016 -

Hurricane Matthew was one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever, and the deadliest one of the 2016 hurricane season. The Category 5 hurricane was formed as a vigorous tropical wave on September 22 off the coast of Africa. Till now, at least 1,027 people have lost their lives in the storm, about 1,000 in Haiti, 21 in the US, 4 in the Dominican Republic, and 1 each in Saint Vincent and Grenadines and Colombia. Damages worth US$5 billion USD was incurred as a result of the catastrophic Hurricane Matthew.

14. Hurricane Hugo, 1989 -

#14 Hurricane Hugo, 1989 -

One of the most fearsome storms in history, Hurricane Hugo, was responsible for at least 50 deaths and property damage worth billions of dollars in the US and the Caribbean. The storm made a landfall on Sullivan's Island as a Category 4 hurricane and had wind speeds of about 217 km/h. It soon strengthened further to become a Category 5 hurricane and claimed 34 lives in the Caribbean and 27 in South Carolina. Electrocution and drowning were the most common causes of death during this catastrophic event. Nearly 100,000 people lost their homes, and a property damage of $10 billion USD (as per the 1989 USD rate) was incurred rendering Hurricane Hugo as one of the costliest Atlantic storms in history.

13. Hurricane Charley, 2004 -

#13 Hurricane Charley, 2004 -

Hurricane Charley, one of the strongest hurricanes of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, was a Category 4 hurricane associated with maximum wind speeds of 240 km/h. Hurricane Charlie was held responsible for four deaths and heavy property damage in Cuba. As the hurricane approached Florida, it gained strength and caused a high level of devastation in the US State. Trees were uprooted, power poles were snapped off, vehicles were smashed down by falling trees, and debris dotted the streets. As per official records, ten people lost their lives in Hurricane Charlie, and a property damage worth $15.4 billion USD was incurred.

12. Hurricane Andrew, 1992 -

#12 Hurricane Andrew, 1992 -

Hurricane Andrew, one of the deadliest hurricanes ever, caused massive destruction in the Caribbean and the US. The Category 5 hurricane with wind speeds of about 270 km/h obliterated complete blocks of residences, often leaving only the concrete foundations as the only remnants of these buildings. Miami-Dade County alone lost nearly 25,000 houses, and a total of about 63,000 homes were damaged. 65 people lost their lives in the disaster, and billions of dollars of property were damaged. 175,000 people were left homeless, and 1.4 million people were left without electricity during the storm. More than 80% of the trees in the Atchafalaya River Basin were uprooted, and 187 million freshwater fish were killed adding to the cost of the Hurricane Andrew, one of the costliest Atlantic hurricanes ever.

11. Hurricane Sandy, 2012 -

#11 Hurricane Sandy, 2012 -

Hurricane Sandy was the strongest hurricane of the 2012 hurricane season. The hurricane made a landfall in Cuba in 2012 as a Category 3 hurricane. 233 people were killed across eight countries under the influence of the Hurricane Sandy, and huge damage to property was incurred. 70% of the citizens of Jamaica were left without power. In Haiti, flooding killed 54 individuals and left 200,000 homeless and without access to food resources. Two people died in the Dominican Republic, and one person was swept away in the floodwater in Puerto Rico. In Haiti, 15,000 homes were destroyed, and eleven people were killed. Canada and The Bahamas also experienced loss of lives and property damage. Hurricane Sandy affected 24 US states, flooded streets, subway lines, and tunnels in various cities. Power outages and road blockages in many places were also associated with Hurricane Sandy.

10. Hurricane Camille, 1969 -

#10 Hurricane Camille, 1969 -

Hurricane Camille was one of the three catastrophic hurricanes that struck the United States in the 20th century. The hurricane formed on August 14, 1969, and rapidly strengthened. It scraped Cuba’s western edge as a Category 2 hurricane, traveled through the Gulf of Mexico, and finally made a landfall at the mouth of the Mississippi River on August 1. with sustained winds of 280 km/h. Nothing that came in the way of Hurricane Camille was left intact. It flooded large tracts of inhabited land, claiming many animal lives and human lives in the process. 259 died, and a property damage of $9.16 billion USD was incurred.

9. Hurricane Gilbert, 1988 -

#9 Hurricane Gilbert, 1988 -

Hurricane Gilbert of the 1988 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the deadliest hurricanes ever that brought widespread destruction to the Gulf of Mexico region and the Caribbean. Gilbert took shape on September 8, 640 km east of Barbados and by September 10 had attained hurricane intensity. After striking Jamaica, Hurricane Gilbert became a Category 5 hurricane on September 13. For nearly nine days, Hurricane Gilbert damaged and destroyed cities, towns, and villages on its way. 318 people were killed, and a property loss of $7.1 USD (as per 1988 USD rates) was incurred.

8. Great Miami Hurricane,1926 -

#8 Great Miami Hurricane,1926 -

The 1926 Miami Hurricane that formed in the central Atlantic Ocean on September 11 wreaked havoc across the Greater Miami area in the US, the US Gulf Coast, and the Bahamas. Hundreds of structures including residences were completely destroyed by the hurricane and thousands were left homeless. At least 17 people were reported to die in the islands of the Caribbean, and many deaths in the US were related to the breach of muck dikes near Lake Okeechobee, drowning hundreds of people. The hurricane was also one of the costliest in the history of the US.

7. Labor Day Hurricane, 1935 -

#7 Labor Day Hurricane, 1935 -

One of the deadliest hurricanes of the 20th century, the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 was a Category 5 hurricane that caused catastrophic damages in parts of the US where it made a landfall. The hurricane which was associated with winds speeds of 320-km/h and soaking rain claimed nearly 400 lives in middle and upper Florida Keys. Most of the victims were World War I veterans who were working on building a bridge between Key West and Key Largo.

6. Hurricane Jeanne, 2004 -

#6 Hurricane Jeanne, 2004 -

Hurricane Jeanne, the worst hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season after triggering destruction in Hispaniola, headed westwards and passed through the Caribbean islands before making a landfall in Florida on September 25. Striking 2 miles from where Hurricane Frances and Ivan had struck a few weeks earlier, Hurricane Jeanne triggered high, incessant rainfall and record floods in the hurricane-affected areas. 3,006 lives were lost in Haiti, 7 in Puerto Rico, 18 in the Dominican Republic, and about 4 in the US state of Florida. The hurricane also resulted in property damage with $6.8 billion USD.

5. Atlantic-Gulf Hurricane, 1919 -

The 1919 Atlantic-Gulf Hurricane also referred to as the 1919 Florida Keys Hurricane was one of the deadliest hurricanes ever. It swept across the areas around the US Gulf Coat and the northern Caribbean Sea in September 1919. In the US, the Florida Keys and South Texas regions were the worst affected. The hurricane sank the Ward Line steamer Corydon and claimed the lives of 9 people on board. Numerous homes and schooners were destroyed, leaving thousands homeless. At least 600 to 900 people lost their lives of which nearly 500 were on board ships that went missing in the sea. Large parts of Florida south of Miami lost all modes of communication.

4. Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -

#4 Hurricane Katrina, 2005 -

The costliest Atlantic hurricane and one of the strongest hurricanes in history, Hurricane Katrina was the infamous storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. On August 23, Hurricane Katrina originated over the Bahamas and soon strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico. Over 90% of the Mississippi beachfront towns were flooded, stormwaters pushed boats and casino barges onto buildings in coastal areas. Cars and houses were severely damaged by flowing debris. Floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina reached as far inland as 10 to 12 km. New Orleans was one of the worst sufferers in the storm where 80% of the city and neighboring areas were flooded, all modes of communication were lost, and levee and floodwater failure drowned many people.

3. Galveston Hurricane,1900 -

#3 Galveston Hurricane,1900 -

6,000 to 12,000 people died in the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900, one of the deadliest hurricanes ever. The hurricane, with wind speeds of 233 km/h made a landfall in Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900. Due to contradictory forecasts, the people of Galveston were not prepared to meet the great danger. When the Galveston Hurricane made a landfall on the island city of Galveston, people were taken by shock. A 15 feet storm surge wiped out large parts of the city which was only 8 feet above sea level. Many lives were also lost. The Galveston Hurricane exposed the vulnerability of Galveston to hurricane-related natural disasters. In the aftermath of the Galveston Hurricane, the island of Galveston was lifted by 17 feet and a seawall that measured 17 feet in height was erected.

2. Hurricane Mitch, 1998 -

#2 Hurricane Mitch, 1998 -

Hurricane Mitch, one of the strognest hurricanes in history, was the most destructive hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. The hurricane was associated with sustained winds of 290 km/h. It formed in the Caribbean Sea on October 22, 1998, and gradually gained strength to become a Category 5 hurricane. The slow moving hurricane caused wanton destruction wherever it went. Historic amounts of rainfall occurred in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. 11,000 people were killed, and almost the same number were missing. Nearly 2.7 million people were left homeless, and property damage worth $6 billion USD was incurred.

1. The Great Hurricane of 1780 -

The deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history dates back to 1780 when the Great Hurricane of 1780 killed 20,000 to 22,000 people throughout the region of Lesser Antilles. The event occurred between October 10 to16 and it is estimated that the hurricane was associated with wind speeds that exceeded 320 km/h. After striking Barbados, the Great Hurricane of 1780 roared across Martinique, St. Lucia, and other Caribbean islands. Since the hurricane came in the midst of the American Revolution, French and British fleets contesting control over their colonies, incurred heavy losses. 

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