Top 10 Most Devastating Hurricanes in US History



Hurricanes are formed by the combinations of warm and cold air with their main source of energy being water vapor. The US is one of those countries which is affected most by hurricanes. Places like Texas, Florida, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mississippi have suitable conditions for hurricane breeding. They form a region which is famously called as the Hurricane Alley. Here are the top 10 devastating hurricanes in US history.

  1. Hurricane Camille – This hurricane which occurred in 1969 was recorded as a Category 5 hurricane. The total damage calculated was around $1.4 billion, which in today’s date would cost a mammoth $21.1 billion. However, the silver lining to this disaster was that it led to the implementation of Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale which rates the Hurricanes from Category 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest after the citizens complained about the then existing hurricane warning system which had left them Ill-prepared.



  1. Hurricane Donna – This raging hurricane holds the record for sustaining hurricane status for 17 days. Hurricane Donna occurred in the year 1960 in Florida Keys and produced storm surges up to 13 feet. Below is a famous footage of Hurricane Donna taken by a 16-year-old shot by an 8mm movie camera.



  1. Lake Okeechobee Hurricane – This particular hurricane which occurred in 1928 had casualties of over 4078 people. In South Florida alone, the number of deaths was around 2500. According to Storymaps:

The greatest loss of life was around Lake Okeechobee. Winds pushed the lake’s water onto the lake’s southern shore, causing a hastily-built dike to fail. Water rushed onto farmland, drowning thousands of people, most of them non-white migrant farm workers. Many of the victims’ bodies were washed into the everglades and never found.

For its number of casualties, the Lake Okeechobee Hurricane is considered as the second most deadly hurricane in US history. In memory of this hurricane, a beautiful 6-foot bronze statue weighing 8-ton was inaugurated in the memory of those who were killed.


  1. Cuba-Florida Hurricane – This particular hurricane saw about 300 people perish in Northern Cuba. One could see wrecked and sunken ships littered all around the Havana Harbor. The hurricane occurring during the 2nd World War in the year 1944. Due to an orderly and efficient evacuation effort made by the proliferation of U.S. Coast Guard, Navy and Army personnel, the casualties were minimized.


St Augustine, Florida After the Cuba-Florida Hurricane
  1. The Great New England Hurricane – Long Island and Connecticut saw this hurricane pop up out of nowhere during the year 1938. There is some confusion that whether it was a Category 2 or a Category 3 hurricane. 12-25 foot storm surges were caused by an extremely high tide throughout Southern New England. As it happened without any warnings, the casualties caused by this hurricane went up to 800 casualties with damages of $300 million which in today’s date would be around $39 billion.



  1. Hurricane Andrew – As of 1992, this category 5 hurricane which struck Dale County in Florida was known to be the costliest on record causing a damage of $26.5 billion. This was replaced later by Hurricane Katrina. The following footage takes us back to the nightmare.



Also Read: Could Hurricanes like Gonzalo be a Potential Source for Wind Energy? 


  1. 1900 and 1915 Galveston Hurricane – This hurricane was a symbol of mankind’s effort to counter the wrath of Mother Nature. A seawall was built in response to the 1900 Galveston Hurricane which helped the town to survive the 21-foot long sea waves.The Galveston Hurricane of the year 1900 is known for its number of casualties which crossed 8,000. Some reports even say the casualties to be more than 12,000. This devastating hurricane caused 3,600 buildings to collapse and a total damage loss exceeded $20 million. Below is a footage of both the 1900 and 1915 Galveston Hurricanes.


A View of the Galveston Seawall

The Galveston Hurricane is known for its number of casualties which crossed 8,000. Some reports even say the casualties to be more than 12,000. This devastating hurricane caused 3,600 buildings to collapse and a total damage loss exceeded $20 million. Below is a footage of both the 1900 and 1915 Galveston Hurricanes.



  1. Hurricane Sandy– In 2012, Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states in the US. This Category 3 hurricane made its landfall in Cuba and killed about 286 people on its course. With its severity of damage, it is termed as the second-costliest hurricane in US history after Katrina with an estimated damage cost of $65 billion dollars. The following video shows why Hurricane Sandy was so unique.



  1. Hurricane Katrina – This Mississippi Gulf Coast and Louisiana based hurricane that happened in 2005 is the most talked about hurricane. The hurricane which began as a Category 1 made its landfall in Southern Florida and reached Category 5 as it entered the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. But thankfully, the hurricane came down to Category 3 before making downfall at the Gulf Coast. At least 1,836 people lost their lives in this Category Level 3 hurricane and the total damages were calculated to be about $81 billion. It was supposedly hailed as the most destructive of all hurricanes. But after a detailed analysis revealed that compared it to the older hurricanes on current conditions, it was found that the Great Miami Hurricane would have caused twice the damage done by Katrina. Check out this amazing footage capturing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.



  1. The Great Miami Hurricane – This hurricane tops the list. Being a Category 4 hurricane, the storm completely consumed Miami in the year 1926. The damages calculated during those days was estimated at $100 million, which in today’s date would have been a staggering $178 billion. Katrina’s estimated damage loss was half of this. The following is a footage taken from the Prelinger Archive which shows the after effects of the hurricane.



With latest technologies, the damages made by hurricanes can be reduced to a certain extent. With the concepts of having windmills in the oceans, the intensity of the storms can be reduced before it makes landfall at the coasts. The loss of life caused by these hurricanes can be reduced to almost zero with specialized warning systems.


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