List of deadliest Atlantic hurricanes

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This is a list of the deadliest known Atlantic hurricanes that caused at least 1,000 direct deaths, the deadliest being the Great Hurricane of 1780, with over 27,500 deaths.


Deadliest hurricanes

Great Hurricane of 1780

The Great Hurricane of 1780, also known as the Hurricane San Calixto II, is the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. Well over 25,000 people died when the storm passed through the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean between October 10 and October 16. The hurricane struck Barbados with wind gusts possibly exceeding 320 km/h (200 mph), before moving past Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Sint Eustatius; thousands of deaths were reported on each island. Coming in the midst of the American Revolution, the storm caused heavy losses to British and French fleets contesting for control of the area. The hurricane later passed near Puerto Rico and over the eastern portion of the Dominican Republic, causing heavy damage near the coastlines, and ultimately turned to the northeast before being last observed on October 20 southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland.

The estimates for the death toll from the Great Hurricane alone exceeds that for any other entire decade of Atlantic hurricanes, and is marginally higher than that of the second-deadliest Atlantic storm, Mitch, although the figures for Mitch are probably much more accurate. The hurricane was part of the disastrous 1780 Atlantic hurricane season, with three exceptionally deadly storms occurring in the month of October.

Hurricane Mitch

Hurricane Mitch near peak intensity

Hurricane Mitch formed from a tropical wave late in October 1998 in the central Caribbean Sea. As the storm drifted over warm water it quickly intensified to a Category 5 hurricane with 180 mph (290 km/h) winds on October 26, then stalled just off the north coast of Honduras. The hurricane slowly weakened as it inched southward toward shore and then inland before drifting westward over Central America. Extreme amounts of rainfall — accumulating to a maximum of nearly 36 inches in Choluteca, Honduras — caused flooding and landslides which killed over 19,000 people, left over 3 million homeless, and caused catastrophic damage throughout Honduras and neighboring countries.[1]

Galveston Hurricane of 1900

Aftermath of the hurricane in Galveston, taken two days later; September 10, 1900

A tropical storm formed in late August 1900 in the central tropical Atlantic and moved across Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricane rapidly intensified while crossing the Gulf, and made a direct strike on the booming city of Galveston, Texas on September 8 with winds of 145 miles per hour (233 km/h). Storm surge washed over the entire island, flattening nearly all buildings in the city and killing between 6,000 and 12,000 people.

Hurricane Fifi

Fifi's track across Central America

Fifi formed in the Caribbean Sea in mid-September 1974 and moved westward, steadily strengthening to peak at 110 mph (175 km/h) winds. The hurricane paralleled the coast of Honduras, staying just offshore, before making landfall in southern Belize on September 19. Fifi dropped torrential rainfall across Central America, causing catastrophic damage and 8,000–10,000 deaths.

1930 Dominican Republic Hurricane

The hurricane's path

A tropical system formed in late August 1930 in the open Atlantic. It crossed the Lesser Antilles and strengthened as it moved toward Hispaniola. The hurricane made landfall in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on September 3 as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. The storm leveled the city, and caused between 2,000 and 8,000 fatalities.

Hurricane Flora

Flora's track across the Caribbean islands

Hurricane Flora formed in late September 1963 in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It moved westward, and strengthened to a major hurricane upon moving through the Windward Islands. Flora continued intensifying and became a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale just before making landfall on southwestern Haiti on October 4. It drifted westward through Cuba, turned back to the east, and accelerated to the northeast. Flora dropped torrential rainfall along its path, and was responsible for 7,186–8,000 fatalities and billions of dollars in damage, mostly in Haiti and Cuba.

Storms that caused over one thousand deaths

27,500+Great Hurricane of 17801780
18,974 – 21,000Hurricane Mitch1998
8,000 – 12,000“Galveston” Hurricane1900
8,000 – 10,000Hurricane Fifi1974
2,000 – 8,000“Dominican Republic” Hurricane1930
7,186 – 8,000Hurricane Flora1963
6,000+Pointe-à-Pitre Bay Hurricane1776
4,000 – 4,163+“Newfoundland” Hurricane1775
4,000“Monterrey” Hurricane1909
4,075+“Okeechobee” Hurricane1928
3,433+Hurricane “San Ciriaco”1899
2,500 – 3,107“Cuba” Hurricane1932
3,037Hurricane Jeanne2004
3,000+“Central Atlantic” Hurricane1782
3,000+“Martinique” Hurricane1813
2,000 – 3,000“Central America” Hurricane1934
30 – 3,000“Cuba” Hurricane1791
1,500 – 2,500“Barbados” Hurricane1831
1,500 – 2,500“Belize” Hurricane1931
1,168 – 2,150“Caribbean” Hurricane1935
2,063+Hurricane David1979
2,000+Florida Hurricane1781
1,000 – 2,500Sea Islands Hurricane1893
2,000Gulf of Mexico Hurricane1780
1,800 – 2,0001893 Chenier Caminanda Hurricane1893
136 – 2,000Hurricane San Marcos1870
up to 2,000Caribbean Hurricane1666
1,836+Hurricane Katrina2005
1,662+Hurricane Stan2005
1,600Martinique Hurricane1767
1,500Mexico Hurricane1909
up to 1,500Cuba and Florida Hurricane1644
372 – 1,300+Caribbean Hurricane1824
1,300Nicaragua Hurricane1605
1,145Hurricane Gordon1994
42 – 1,090Jamaica and Cuba Hurricane1780
1,090Straits of Florida Hurricane1622
1,000+Gulf of Mexico Hurricane1590
1,000+Barbados Hurricane1694
1,000 – 2,500Bahamas Hurricane1715
43 – 1,000Havana Hurricane1768
1,000Veracruz Hurricane1601
600 – 1,200Hurricane Hazel1954
1,000Hurricane Inez1966

See also