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5 deadliest hurricanes wreaked havoc

Published On: May 24 2011 12:23:31 PM CDT
Updated On: May 14 2012 12:23:31 PM CDT

Hurricane season starts June 1 of every year and ends on Nov 30 of every year, with an average of 5.9 hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean each year.Hurricanes that cause extreme destruction are rare, but when they do occur, they can cause significant property damage and/or thousands of fatalities. Below are the five deadliest known Atlantic hurricanes.

Great Hurricane of 1780

The deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record is the Great Hurricane of 1780. The storm passed through the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean between Oct. 10 and Oct. 16, 1780, killing more than 25,000 people. The hurricane struck Barbados with wind gusts that possibly exceeded 200 mph before it moved past Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Sint Eustatius; thousands of deaths were reported on each island.The hurricane hit during the American Revolution, causing heavy losses to both the British and French fleets fighting for control of the area. The hurricane passed near Puerto Rico and over the eastern portion of the Dominican Republic, causing heavy damage near the coastlines.

Hurricane Mitch

In October 1998, Hurricane Mitch formed from a tropical wave in the central Caribbean Sea. The storm quickly intensified to a Category 5 hurricane as the storm drifted over warm water, with winds 180 mph. Mitch stalled just off the north coast of Honduras, slowly weakened as it inched southward toward shore, then inland before moving west toward Central America.Rainfall was nearly 36 inches in Choluteca, Honduras, resulting in flooding and landslides which killed somewhere between 11,000 and 18,000 people. There was catastrophic damage throughout Honduras and neighboring countries.

Galveston Hurricane of 1900

In late August 1900, a tropical storm formed in the central tropical Atlantic, then moved across Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico. While crossing the Gulf, the hurricane rapidly intensified and on Sept. 8, made a direct hit on Galveston, Texas. With winds 135 mph, the storm surged across the entire island, and flattened nearly all buildings in the city and killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people.The Galveston Hurricane is to date the deadliest natural disaster to hit the United States. In comparison, the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane caused approximately 2,500 deaths, while Hurricane Katrina claimed the lives of approximately 1,800 people.

Hurricane Fifi

Fifi formed in the Caribbean Sea in mid-September 1974 and moved westward and peaked at 110 mph winds. The hurricane just offshore the coast of Honduras, before it made landfall in southern Belize on Sept. 19. Fifi dropped torrential rainfall across Central America, caused catastrophic damage and between 8,000 and 10,000 deaths.Fifi caused $3.7 billion in damages and was one of the few storms that crossed from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific ocean.

Dominican Republic Hurricane Of 1930

This category 4 hurricane formed in late August 1930 in the open Atlantic. After it crossed the Lesser Antilles, it strengthened as it moved toward Hispaniola. The hurricane hit in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Sept. 3, leveled the city and caused between 2,000 and 8,000 fatalities.Immediately after the hurricane struck, relief work in the Dominican Republic began, and the Red Cross office in Washington, D.C. sent $15,000 in aid.


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