The Ten Deadliest US Hurricanes
The Worst Hurricanes In Terms of Loss of Life In the United States
The Great Galveston Hurricane
September 8, 1900
This unnamed hurricane caused the greatest loss of life of any Hurricane in recorded US history. First tracked in Cuba as a tropical storm on Sept. 3, it hit Galveston as a Category 4 Hurricane. An estimated 6,000 – 12,000 people died as storm tides of eight to 15 feet washed over the barrier island. The tragedy was documented in the recent book, Isaac’s Storm.
San Felipe-Okeechobee Hurricane
September 16 – 17, 1928
The fourth strongest Hurricane to hit the US mainland caused the second highest number of casualties. A lake surge on the inland Lake Okeechobee in Florida rose as high as nine feet, flooding nearby towns. A total of 1,836 people died in Florida; another 312 died in Puerto RIco, and 18 in the Bahamas.
August 25 – 29, 2005
Making landfall as a Category 4, Hurricane Katrina caused immense flooding in New Orleans. More than 800 deaths currently are being blamed on Katrina.
The Long Island Express
North Carolina to New York
September 20 – 22, 1938
The Long Island Express roared past North Carolina on September 20, and hit Long Island on September 22 as a Category 3. Storm surges of 12 – 16 feet killed at least 600.
The Great Labor Day Storm
September 2, 1935
One of just three Category 5 Hurricanes to make landfall in the US, the Great Labor Day Storm was responsible for 423 deaths in Florida. Most of those occurred when a train carrying World War I veterans was overturned. The Hurricane also was notable for providing the setting for the Humphrey Bogart – Lauren Bacall movie, Key Largo.
Texas and Louisiana
June 26, 1957
Audrey was a Category 4 that caused eight to 12 foot storm surges that moved inland as far as 25 miles through low-lying areas of Louisiana. The storm is blamed for 390 deaths.
The Great Miami Hurricane
September 18, 1926
The Great Miami Hurricane struck Miami directly with little warning. The town of Moore Haven on the south side of Lake Okeechobee was completely flooded by lake surge from the hurricane. Hundreds of people in Moore Haven alone were killed by this surge, which left behind floodwaters in the town for weeks afterward. The Red Cross lists the death toll at 373, although the total may be higher because much of the population at the time was either new, or transient, with no one to account for them.
The Grand Isle Hurricane
September 20, 1909
This Category 4 storm struck the mainland between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. It is blamed for at least 350 deaths.
The Atlantic-Gulf Hurricane
September 10 – 14, 1919
This hurricane struck the Keys as a Category 4, and Texas as a Category 3. US mainland losses are recorded as 287, but more than 500 more people apparently were lost at sea as the storm destroyed ten ships.
New Orleans, Louisiana
September 30, 1915
In a frightening precursor to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, this unnamed Category 4 Storm flooded Lake Pontchartrain, causing it to overflow its banks and killing 275 people.
August 5, 1915
In spite of a seawall built following the devastating 1900 storm, this Category 4 hurricane once again devastated the city of Galveston, Texas. It killed 275.