10 Deadliest Storms in the U.S History

The deadliest version of the storm is also known as the hurricane. Hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean starts from June and lasts till the end of November, and has seen plenty of catastrophic storms that have hit the United States over the years. As storms are natural disasters, nothing can stop them from striking. Many thousands of lives are lost every year due to deadly hurricanes.

Here is a brief note on the ten most horrific and deadly storms that have occurred in the past years in the United States;

1. Great Galveston Hurricane, 1900

The Great Galveston Hurricane happened on September 8, 1900, in Galveston, Texas, in the US, and till the present day, it remains the deadliest natural disaster in US history and the second-costliest disaster. It was a Category 4 storm, with winds of up to 145 mph, which caused landfall, leaving about 6,000 to 12,000 people dead.

The hurricane is assumed to have first started from West Africa as an atmospheric trough, which caused an unsettled climatic condition in the Caribbean, emerging as a tropical storm into the Florida Straits, on September 5. The residents of Galveston didn’t feel any contradictory alarm until the official storm alert was released on 7 September. The hurricane hit on 8 and destroyed buildings and homes, causing a great loss of life. The Galveston hurricane ended the golden era of the city, as potential investors were alarmed by the great disaster.

2. Katrina Hurricane, 2005


Katrina hurricane was the costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States of America

Hurricane Katrina was the fifth hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season of 2005, and it’s considered the costliest natural disaster till this day in the history of US. The storm originated on August 23 over the Bahamas due to the interaction between some parts of Tropical Depression Ten and a tropical wave.

It was a five-category major hurricane and brought great devastation to Bahamas, Cuba, South Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and most of eastern North America. Approximately around 1,245 people lost their lives in the deadly hurricane and the floods caused due to the storm.

According to the NOAA, hundreds and thousands of people lost their homes, and the damages were worth around $108 billion. It was also reported that eighty percent of the city of New Orleans was flooded, with some parts submerged in 10 feet of water. The hurricane Katrina is till date ranked as the third most intense land-falling tropical cyclone of the United States.

3. Okeechobee Hurricane, 1928

Okeechobee hurricane is the only hurricane that happened in 1928 hurricane season. It was a five-category storm and brought devastating impacts in the Puerto Rico Island destroying thousands of homes and leaving around five hundred thousand people homeless. It was one of the deadliest cyclones in the US after the Galveston Hurricane that occurred in 1900. A catastrophic flood also followed it.

According to the NOAA, the coastal parts of Florida were hit by the notorious storm with ferocious gusts and force of the wind that was recorded at a high of 155mph. It also reported that Florida’s barrier islands, including Palm Beach, were crashed over by enormous waves that were as high as 20 feet. Thousands of property and homes drowned as the huge amount of water submerged an area around the south end of Lake Okeechobee up to approximately 75 miles long and 6 miles deep. Overall, at least 4,079 lives were lost, and $100 million damage was caused due to the hurricane and the flood.

4. Georgia and South Carolina Hurricane, 1881

A category two storm hit the interior and coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina in August 1881. Landfall was made by the hurricane in the Ossabaw Island and killed 700 people, mostly residents of Georgia. It was limited in the lateral coverage, so at that time somewhat it was overlooked in the records. The Very low pressure was recorded when the storm was at a peak, and later it was reported that the storm was of category two that had made the landfall, resulting from great devastation of the areas that were hit by the hurricane.

The NWS reported that Georgia was affected by the hurricane particularly. Several low-lying coastal islands were submerged, resulting in a huge amount of crop damage. This hurricane is considered the deadliest two category storm and was an example of the worst possible consequences of a two-category storm.

5. Cheniere Caminada Hurricane, 1893

The Cheniere Caminada hurricane is also known as the Great October Storm. It was a very powerful hurricane and devastated the Cheniere Caminada Island, Louisiana in early October of 1893. During the Atlantic Hurricane season of that year, it was the third deadly hurricane to strike in the US.

The hurricane was first observed in the northwest region of Caribbean Sea on 27 September. The four category storm leveled houses on the island of Cheniere Caminada and killed 2,000 people. It’s been almost a century and a quarter ago that the storm hit the island, but until today the storm is referenced due to its lethal outcome.

The hurricane-affected the Gulf States greatly and destroyed most of the crops. The overall damage was estimated at $5 million at that time. By the end of the storm, the island and village were almost destroyed, and it had completely wiped out most of the town of the Grand Isle.

6. Sea Islands Hurricane, 1893

When it came to disasters, it seems that 1893 was not a very safe year for the residents of the United States. On August 27, 1893, the United States near Savannah was hit by the Sea Islands hurricane. It was one of the three major hurricanes that struck in the United States on the hurricane season of that year.

This tropical storm seemed to have formed in East Cape Verde on August 15, which then directly headed towards the islands, growing stronger and more violent, finally causing a landfall near Savannah, Georgia. The wind speed was around 120mph at the time of landfall, making it a category three hurricane. The hurricane took away around 1,000 to 2,000 lives and leftover 30,000 people homeless. Estimated damage due to the hurricane was around $1 million.

7. Audrey Hurricane, 1957

Hurricane Audrey was the first named hurricane and storm of the yearly hurricane season. It was an enormously destructive tropical hurricane, which dominantly affected the South Central United States. The storm was reported to have formed on June 25, 1957, from a tropical wave. Audrey strengthened and reached its peak only in few hours after it was categorized as a tropical cyclone. On June 27, the hurricane reached its peak, with wind intensity of 125mph, and caused landfall between Cameron, Louisiana and the mouth of Sabine River, causing vast destruction across the region.

Total of 416 confirmed deaths was reported, with many more presumed dead and missing. Total $147 million worth property was damaged in the country. Till present day Audrey is considered the strongest storm and the only major hurricane to have caused landfall in June, in the United States.

8. Florida Keys Hurricane, 1935

The Labor Day hurricane in Florida in 1935 was the most intense major hurricane that ever hit the United States. It was the second major hurricane of the Atlantic hurricane season on 1935. It’s the 8th deadliest storm in the history and may seem modest, but it’s the harshest storm to strike the U.S and the third strongest hurricane in the Atlantic Basin.

The superstorm was referred to as small but vicious by the NHC. According to the NOAA, the hurricane featured ferocious winds roaring across the Florida Keys at an astounding speed of 185mph. Low-lying areas around the Florida Keys were obliterated by the five category storm, and 408 fatalities were reported; out of which most were World War I veterans. The total damage caused due to the hurricane was worth around $6 million. Although the death toll and damage was not much as compared to the other major hurricanes, it’s still considered the most intense hurricane.

9. Last Island Hurricane, 1856

The Last Island Hurricane is also known as the Great Storm of 1856. It was one of the deadliest tropical hurricanes in the records for Louisiana. It gave a catastrophic impact on the island-travelers in Louisiana. According to the NOAA, this storm killed at least 200 people who were on holiday. The cyclone was first detected on August 8, in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. With an intensity of 150mph at the peak, it made landfall on August 10, in New Iberia, Louisiana.

The storm boasted so forcefully that it severed the island into halves. The NHC reported that many ships capsized, hotels collapsed and hundreds of vacationers were either drowned or became trapped under the shattering buildings.

10. Miami Hurricane, 1926

This major hurricane is also known as the Great Miami Hurricane. The storm was huge and intense and left a devastating impact on the areas of Greater Miami and caused extensive damage in the U.S Gulf Coast and the Bahamas. The tropical cyclone is presumed to have formed on September 11, in the central Atlantic Ocean. When the storm reached its peak, its intensity was equivalent to that of a four-category storm, and it made landfall near Miami on September 18.

NOAA reported that the hurricane caused devastating blow that resulted in nearly 539 casualties and injured 6,000 more. The hurricane in Miami stunned the economic growth in South Florida single-handedly.

After reading about these catastrophic storms, you must be doubtful about your safety. Natural disasters like a storm can hit anytime, especially if you are residing near coastal areas or hurricane-prone zone. Many precautions have been taken by the government to keep the civilians alert. Various instruments can help predict storms, such as weather stations, weather radios, lightning detectors, etc. Natural disasters can’t be stopped, but with good preparation and awareness, many lives can be saved.

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