Worst Hurricanes in History

Hurricanes are a phenomenon and can be very scary if not deadly.  If you live along the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or the Gulf of Mexico, you are very susceptible to encountering one if not more of these storms.  These occur only between the months of June 1st and November 30th.  A hurricane is a tropical depression that is accompanied by thunderstorms, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface.  If the right conditions last long enough, they can combine to produce the violent winds, incredible waves, torrential rains, and flooding.  In order for it to be called a hurricane it has to sustained winds of 74 mph. 

The way storm surge, wind and other factors combine determines the hurricanes destructive power.  The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, also know as NOAA; use a scale which assigns storms into five categories.

      Category 1:  sustained winds of 74-95 mph and has minimal damage.

     Category 2:  sustained winds of 96-110 mph and has moderate damage.

     Category 3:  sustained winds of 111-130 mph and has extensive damage.

     Category 4:  sustained winds of 131-155 mph and has extreme damage.

     Category 5:  sustained winds of >155 mph and has catastrophic damage.

Category 5 hurricanes are rare and fortunately weaken before hitting land.  The first cat 5 ever recorded to hit land in the USA was in 1935, Florida Keys known as “Labor Day”.  This was the longest lasting storm in 1935 with duration of 13 days.  It was the most powerful hurricane at that time.  Unlike today, where a tropical storm can be spotted on satellite and radar while hurricane hunters fly into the storm, The Labor Day Hurricane went undetected for the most part until it was right on top of the Keys.

Although, the hurricane in 1935 was one of great proportions, there are others that have hit the USA with a lot more casualties.  There are those that strike with a lower rated category and inflict greater damage, depending on where they strike and what particular hazards they bring.  The worst hurricanes hit with both casualties of the most deadliest and costliest since the 1900’s are:

The 1900 Storm in Galveston – Galveston Texas, rated a category 4, where 6000 died, and 99.4 billion in damages.  After the storm, Galveston constructed a seawall and raised the grade of the island to protect it from future hurricanes.

Okeechobee Hurricane – Okeechobee, Florida, rated a category 4, where 2500 died, and 33.6 billion in damages.  A beautiful monument stands as a remembrance of the deadly storm and its devastation.

Hurricane Katrina – New Orleans, Louisiana, rated a category 3, where 1800 died, and 81.2 billion in damages.  The national flood defense organization in New Orleans broke down at more than fifty places which aided in the successive floods.

The 1938 Hurricane – New England, rated a category 3, where 600 died, and 39.2 billion in damages.  With Europe on the brink of war over the worsening Sudetenland crisis, little media attention was given to the powerful hurricane at sea.

During hurricane season you need to take heed to the warnings being made and be prepared.  There is usually an advanced warning given in time to make arrangements for your safety.  A few things you need to keep ready in case you have to leave quickly are:

     Water:  at least 1 gallon per person for 3-7 days

     Food:  non-perishables




     Flashlight with batteries

     Radio:  battery operated



     Important documents:  in waterproof container

     Full tank of gas

     Pet care items

Remember, hurricanes can be very dangerous and are often unpredictable.  Be prepared.