The Worst Hurricanes on Record

Hurricanes are massive tropical storms that cause a significant amount of damage and tragic loss of life.
Hurricanes are massive tropical storms that cause a significant amount of damage and tragic loss of life.

Cyclone, typhoon, hurricane - depending on where in the world they occur, these massive, destructive tropical storms may go by a different name. Unfortunately, no matter their title, the gusts of winds and sudden flooding that these storms bring with them have terrible consequences on civilians and infrastructure. The following is a list of the worst hurricanes ever, in terms of human casualties.

10. Monterrey Hurricane, 1909 - 4,000 Casualties

In 1909, the destructive Monterrey Hurricane hit Mexico. Estimates place the casualty count at around 4,000. On top of this tragic loss of life, tens of thousands of people were left homeless, and property damage was enormous. It remains one of worst hurricanes ever experienced.

9. Hurricane Okeechobee, 1928 - 4,075 casualties

On September 13, 1928, the deadly hurricane of Okeechobee affected populations on the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Nevis, and Montserrat, all located in the Caribbean. The hurricane reached Florida, in the United States, a few days later. Winds reaching speeds of up to 260 km per hour had devastating effects on the local area. The storm caused today's equivalent of 1.4 billion dollars in damage.

8. Newfoundland Hurricane, 1775 - 4,000 to 4,163

Way back in 1775, a major hurricane hit what is now the eastern Canadian province of Newfoundland. The hurricane had catastrophic effects on the local fishing industry, and was responsible for at least 4,000 deaths. Most of these casualties were sailors. This event still goes down in history as the worst natural disaster to ever have hit Canada.

7. Pointe-a-Pitre Bay Hurricane, 1776 - 6,000 casualties

One of the oldest hurricanes on this list, the 1776 hurricane of Pointe-a-Pitre Bay goes down in history for its mass destruction. It is estimated that around 6,000 people lost their lives at its hands. However, not much is known about this tragic event. What's known is that the effects were especially felt on Guadeloupe, the island upon which the town of Pointe-a-Pitre exists.

6. Dominican Republic, 1930, 2,000 - 8,000 casualties

In 1930, the Dominican Republic experience what is still today considered to be one of the deadliest hurricanes of all time. Estimates of its death toll place it somewhere between 2,000 to 8,000 people. As its name would suggest, the Dominican Republic was most affected by the storm, though its effects were also felt in other islands in the Lesser Antilles. The Dominican capital city of Santo Domingo was especially damaged in the storm.

5. Hurricane Flora, 1963 - 7,193 casualties

Hurricane Flora of 1963 affected a wide surface area, from the southern Caribbean to as far north as Atlantic Canada. The majority of casualties were reported in Haiti (5,000) and Cuba (1,750). Hurricane Flora also caused incredibly extensive property damage and destroyed thousands of houses. The economic effects of Hurricane Flora were felt for years to come due to its destruction on crops and infrastructure. Hurricane Flora today is remembered as one of the worst hurricanes in history.

4. Hurricane Orlene, 1974 - 8,200 casualties

In 1974, Hurricane Orlene hit areas of Jamaica, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras and caused catastrophic damage and loss of life. Originally called Hurricane Fifi, Hurricane Orlene was especially hard-hitting in Honduras, where nearly 182 towns were destroyed overnight. The total death toll from Hurricane Orlene is still to this day uncertain. 8,200 casualties is considered to be a low estimate.

3. Galveston Hurricane,1900 - 6,000 - 12,000 Casualties

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 - 11,374 casualties

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 - 20,000 to 27,500 casualties

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. 

The Strongest And Deadliest Hurricanes Ever Recorded

RankHurricane Name Estimated Death Toll Affected AreasYear
1Great Hurricane of 1780 20,000 - 27,500 Lesser Antilles1780
2Mitch 11,374Central America, Yucatan Peninsula, United States (Florida) 1998
3Galveston6,000 - 12,000 Texas, Caribbean1900
4Orlene8,200Jamaica, Central America, Mexico 1974
5Flora7,193Florida, Caribbean1963
6Dominican Republic2,000 - 8,000 Dominican Republic1930
7Pointe-a-Pitre Bay6,000Guadeloupe, United States (Louisiana), Antigua, Martinique1776
8Newfoundland4,163Newfoundland), United States (Virginia, North Carolina) 1775
9Okeechobee4,075Lesser Antilles, Florida, Puerto Rico1928
10Monterrey 4,000Mexico, Greater Antilles1909

More in World Facts