Top 10 Most Devastating Hurricanes In U.S History

Destructive Hurricanes

We all are aware that the U.S gets battered by destructive hurricanes every then and now.

From Texas to Maine, these storms have caused extensive and irrecoverable damages to both life and property, and have also played a major role in altering the geographical landscape of the United States.

As we just rewind and recollect some of the deadliest hurricanes that have passed through the U.S, we have compiled a list of some of the most destructive and devastating hurricanes.

Check out some useful hurricane safety tips to keep you and your family safe from the horrific hurricanes.

In The Article


Great Galveston Hurricane (1900)

Key aspect

  • Category type – 4
  • Wind speed – 145+ mph
  • Loss of Life – anywhere between 7900 to 11800
  • Estimated damage – USD 40 million (approx.)
  • Landfall Date – September 8th,1900
  • Affected Areas – Galveston, Texas

This Category 4 hurricane is ranked by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) as the worst hurricane to have struck American soil till date.

Traveling to Great Lakes and then moving across New England and then into south-east Canada, storm tides surged as high as 15 feet, pushing the whole island of Galveston underwater.

Wind speed reached somewhere between 140-156 mph, this hurricane wreaked havoc in Galveston, Texas more than a century ago.

The hallmark of this hurricane was that it created such a scare in the minds of American people and needless to say there were no warning systems like we have today.

The Great Galveston was one hell of a storm in the U.S history.


Okeechobee - San Felipe (1928)

Key aspect

  • Category type – 4
  • Wind Speed – 143 mph
  • Loss of Life – more than 3000
  • Estimated damage – USD 20 million (approx.)
  • Landfall Date – September 10th,1928
  • Affected Areas – Florida (Palm Beach)

Undoubtedly, the second most devastating hurricane of all times in the U.S history, Palm Islands (Florida) and Puerto Rico were the most hit locations.

It was widely reported that the main cause of death in this hurricane was Lake Okeechobee, which suddenly surged to dangerous levels ranging from 5 to 9 feet and the surrounding areas were severely affected due to this.

This was a classic hurricane that developed near Cape Verde that stormed Florida and North Carolina in a matter of 10 days. From the Leeward Islands to Florida, the entire northeastern coastline was extensively damaged.

Hurricane Okeechobee was as powerful and destructive as a Category 5 storm even though in reality it belonged to category 4.


Hurricane Katrina (2005)

Key aspect

  • Category type – 5 and 3
  • Wind Speed – 120 to 175 mph
  • Loss of Life – more than 1200
  • Estimated damage – USD 80 billion (approx.)
  • Landfall Date – August 25th and 29th,2005
  • Affected Areas – Louisiana, Florida (Miami)

One of the most deadly hurricanes that were ever witnessed by the people of the United States after Okeechobee hurricane that struck Florida in the year 1928, Katrina was way too destructive than one could have probably imagined.

Even though Hurricane Atlantic-Gulf was regarded as one of the worst hurricanes to strike the United States, in terms of damages and causalities Hurricane Katrina can be regarded as the “Mother of all Recent Storms”

From the Bahamas to South Florida, Katrina made landfall on August 25, 2005, near Broward County/Miami-Dade.

Storm flooding was reported of more than 9 to 20 feet well above normal conditions near the coast of Louisiana (Southeast), well accounted for the devastation propelled by Hurricane Katrina.

An interesting thing that happened was the pet owners stayed outside the evacuation centers initially as their pets were not allowed in. Finally, the city shelters had to allow pets inside the convention centers as the pet owners preferred to be with their pets during the storms.

According to reports, some 30 odd tornadoes have occurred due to bad weather conditions.

The height of activity was when Katrina touched more than 175 mph in wind speed when it rocked the Mississippi coast on 28th August 2005.

Hurricane Katrina is still the most expensive hurricane ever recorded in the U.S so far making it by far the most horrific hurricane the Americans have ever faced.


Great Miami Hurricane (1926)

Key aspect

  • Category type – 4
  • Wind Speed – 150 mph
  • Loss of Life – 500 plus
  • Estimated damage – USD 78 million (approx.)
  • Landfall Date – September 18th,1926
  • Affected Areas – Florida (Miami and Pensacola)

This “Great Miami” hurricane as it was called not only destroyed Miami area but also created unrecoverable damages in the Gulf Coast of U.S and Bahamas during its run.

This Category 4 hurricane is still considered as the first trigger in a series of events that eventually led to the Great Depression of the 1930’s in the United States.

Causing enormous damage to houses, structures and it also left many people homeless for days after the storm.

Lake Okeechobee reported the most number of deaths with death toll crossing more than 300 in number.

The severely affected areas in the United States include Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.


Great Labor Day Hurricane (1935)

Key aspect

  • Category type – 4
  • Wind Speed – N.A
  • Loss of Life – 400 plus
  • Estimated damage – USD 6million (approx.)
  • Landfall Date – September 4th,1935
  • Affected Areas – Cedar Key, Florida Keys

This hurricane first started its course from the east coast of central Bahamas before moving further westward.

Then the major destruction of the storm was on 2nd September when it graduated into a hurricane belonging to Category 5.

The Florida Keys was the first landfall of this hurricane before it changed its course reaching the west coast of Florida. Cedar Key was the second landfall when Great Labor Day turned into a hurricane belonging to Category 2.

Florida Keys was the major area that suffered the maximum loss of lives around 400, mostly consisting of veterans belonging to World War I.

This hurricane measured 26.35 inches of pressure, recorded at Florida (Long Key).

A memorable hurricane to have run amok over the United States several decades ago.


Hurricane Audrey (1957)

Key aspect

  • Category type – 4
  • Wind Speed – N.A
  • Loss of Life – 390
  • Estimated damage – USD 150 million (approx.)
  • Landfall Date – June 27th,1957
  • Affected Areas – Louisiana (southwest)

This hurricane first started its journey from the southwest coast of Gulf Mexico and then slowly moved further north hitting Louisiana-Texas border on June 27th, 1957.

Hurricane Audrey moved further and battered northern Mississippi and later Louisiana with storm tides reaching more than 10 to 12 feet.

Most of the severely affected countries in this hurricane were the United States (Eastern) and Canada.

Hurricane Audrey was one of the main hurricanes that made an impact in the year 1957.


Hurricane Camille (1969)

Key aspect

  • Category type – 5
  • Wind Speed – 175 mph
  • Loss of Life – more than 275
  • Estimated damage – USD 0 billion (approx.)
  • Landfall Date – August 18th,1969
  • Affected Areas – Louisiana (southeast0, Mississippi )

Considered as one of the most horrible and intensely terrible cyclonic activities to have occurred on the U.S soil, Hurricane Camille struck a major blow to the city of Mississippi on 18th August 1969.

Hurricane Camille is the only hurricane to have recorded the lowest pressure only after Hurricane Labor Day which created an unruly ruckus in 1935.

The peak storm tide was recorded at more than 20 feet and this hurricane showed no mercy when it battered Mississippi and Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains.

It is unfortunate that more than 250 people lost their precious lives when it caused unprecedented flash flooding within a short span of 2 to 4 hours.

This storm was so deadly that it shattered all the wind measuring instruments along its path.

Finally, when the authorities tried to assess the reason behind the calamity, they still could not come to a clear understanding of this hurricane in particular.


Hurricane Sandy (2012)

Key aspect

  • Category type – 3
  • Wind Speed – 115 mph
  • Loss of Life – 200 plus
  • Estimated damage – USD 75 billion(approx.)
  • Landfall Date – October 29th,2012
  • Affected Areas – New Jersey‎ (‎Jersey Shore‎)

Nicknamed as “Superstorm Sandy”, it is memorable to note that it is the second most costly hurricane in the history of the United States.

Hurricane Sandy first made landfall in Cuba before moving over the Northeast coast of United States, and later it became so gigantic in size measuring 1100 miles of wind span.

Hurricane Sandy not only affected more than 24 states in the United States, but it also affected the entire coastline from Florida till Maine, in the west till Wisconsin passing through Michigan via the Appalachian Mountains.

New Jersey and New York were mainly traumatized by the hurricane Sandy with the storm surge reaching the Radiant New York City on 29th October, and flooding subways, tunnels, and streets.


Hurricane Connie And Diane (1955)

Key aspect

  • Category type – 3 (Connie) and 1 (Diane)
  • Wind Speed – 100 mph
  • Loss of Life – more than 180
  • Estimated damage – USD 930 million (approx.)
  • Landfall Date – August 14th and 17th respectively,1955
  • Affected Areas – North Carolina

Hurricane Connie and Diane are a pair of hurricanes that struck the coast of North Carolina (Fort Macon) causing severe to extensive damages.

No loss of life was reported after the assessment team sent a report to the U.S government after the hurricane had passed.

The main key point of this hurricane was that it lashed continuously and the downpour caused the water level to cross over 12 inches of rain.

Diane was a Category 1 hurricane, causing widespread flooding to the areas in Massachusetts and North Carolina. Rainfall activity was recorded more than 10 to 15 inches.

Primarily, both these hurricanes caused extensive damage to both property and human lives.


Last Island Hurricane (1856)

Key aspect

  • Category type – 4
  • Wind Speed – 150 mph
  • Loss of Life – 200 plus
  • Estimated damage – USD 20 million  (approx.)
  • Landfall Date – August 10th,1856
  • Affected Areas – Mississippi (southwest), Louisiana

Also commonly known as the “Great Storm”, Last Island hurricane was one of the most destructive and as well as one of the deadliest cyclones ever recorded in the history of Louisiana.

A severe storm surge of around 11 to 12 feet in height totally engulfed the island and the island was virtually split into two parts.

Mermentau River was totally flooded, extensively destroying properties and crops in the town of Abbeville. The storm managed to produce 13.14 inches of rainfall in the area of New Orleans.

The main affected places in this storm were southwest Mississippi and Louisiana.

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