Atlantic hurricanes have been wreaking havoc on civilization since before New World settlers began keeping records of these events. If you find yourself worrying about the possibility of such a storm, you’re in good company. What follows is a list of the deadliest storms to have occurred since we began keeping track of such things.
Hurricane San Calixto II/The Great Hurricane of 1780: More than 27,500 people were killed when this 18th century storm tore through the Lesser Antilles during six days in October. It’s estimated that, when it passed through Barbados, winds surpassed 200 mph. Both the French and the English suffered significant military losses when many ships that had been fighting for control of the area were lost to the storm. The Great Hurricane of 1780 was the worst of three terrible storms that ripped through the Atlantic that month.
Hurricane Mitch: Since this storm occurred in contemporary times, the resulting death toll is far more accurate than the one that took place after the Great Hurricane. However, the two deadly storms were similar in nature. Winds escalated to 180 mph as the storm gathered Category 5 strength, and Hurricane Mitch eventually reached Central America, pouring almost 36 inches of rain down on Chluteca, Honduras and initiating flooding and landslides that resulted in more than 19,000 deaths. The storm caused catastrophic damage to infrastructure, leaving 3 million people without shelter. Although its power decreased as it moved inland, Hurricane Mitch wreaked havoc throughout Honduras and its national neighbors.
The Galveston Hurricane of 1900: Both Cuba and Texas took a hit as this deadly hurricane swung through the tropics and over the Gulf of Mexico. Texas got the worst of it after the hurricane gained strength over the gulf’s warm waters. The death toll in Texas was somewhere between 6,000 to 12,000 people, and the city was almost completely razed when the storm surge washed over the entire island of Galveston.
The Dominican Republic Hurricane of 1930: It killed between 2,000 and 8,000 people even as it destroyed the city of Santo Domingo on September 3. This nameless hurricane of the early 20th century made landfall as a Category 4 storm after crossing the Lesser Antilles.
Hurricane Flora: This Category 4 storm resulted in approximately 8,000 deaths when it passed through Haiti and Cuba in 1963. In addition to the human carnage, Hurricane Flora cost these islands billions of dollars in structural damage.
The 1776 Pointe–Pitre Hurricane: The storm, which occurred before the means to track and categorize hurricanes was made possible by technology, is estimated to have resulted in more than 6,000 deaths. Although it struck Guadeloupe, Antigua, Martinique, and Louisiana during its six-day trek, these fatalities all occurred in Guadeloupe. This storm was the deadliest Atlantic storm on record until, four years later, the Great Hurricane of 1780 came along.
Don’t wait until the next deadly storm is headed your way – research life insurance companies and comb through your options today, before it’s too late.