Hurricanes claim hundreds of lives annually and account for billions of dollars worth of damage. A devastating hurricane can permanently change the lives of thousands of people in a few short hours, obliterating property, killing loved ones, and destroying businesses. Below are a few of the deadliest hurricanes in recent history with some additional information:
Hurricane Intensity Scale
Hurricanes are measured by intensity on the following scale:
|1||74 - 95 mph||4 - 5 feet||Minimal damage, mostly to vegetation|
|2||96 - 110 mph||6 - 8 feet||Moderate damage to small buildings|
|3||111 - 130 mph||9 - 12 feet||Extensive damage to small buildings|
|4||131 - 155 mph||13 - 18 feet||Extreme damage to buildings|
|5||155 mph or higher||Greater than 18 feet||Devestating damage to all structures|
- Hurricane Floyd (Category 2) - September 16, 1999
On September 16, 1999, Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina. Despite it's relatively weak winds for a hurricane, Floyd's huge size combined with its unusually high amount of rain caused substantial flooding, damaging not only North Carolina, but parts of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia all were heavily affect by the torrential downpour. Floyd claimed 77 lives and damages were estimated to be well over six billion dollars.
Damaged housing in North Carolina after Hurricane Floyd.
- Hurricane Andrew (Category 5) - August 24, 1992
On August 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew made landfall, hitting southern Florida, continuing northwest across the Gulf of Mexico to hit the coastline of Louisiana. Among the hardest hit cities were Homestead, Florida City, and Miami. Although there were only 40 deaths, the Andrew caused over 30 billion dollars worth of property damage, left over a quarter of a million people homeless, and destroyed or damaged over 82,000 businesses. Andrew also damaged the environment, damaging coral reefs at Biscayne National Park and South Dade's native pinelands.
An aerial photo of a mobile home community in Homestead after Hurricane Andrew.
- Hurricane Hugo (Category 4) - September 21, 1989
On September 21, 1989, Hurricane Hugo struck Charleston, South Carolina with winds over 135 miles per hour. Hugo caused over seven billion dollars worth of damage and set the record for the highest ever recorded storm surge on the East Coast. Hugo.s over 150 mile wide vortex of destruction claimed 82 lives in its assault on South Carolina.
Computer enhanced image of Hurricane Hugo at landfall.