Vrydaghs: Hurricanes cause terrible and costly destruction

Over the past week the big weather story has been Hurricane Dorian. Early predictions estimated this storm would be the strongest hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Obviously with the change in track that was not the case.

There are many ways to rate the “worst” hurricane in history to strike the United States — wind speed, lowest pressure at landfall and storm damage assessments. When it comes to ranking these storms, some names may come to mind: Andrew, Harvey, Katrina or Sandy.

All had devastating impacts on the U.S., but you may be surprised to see how they stack up.

MORE: Hurricane Dorian downgraded, moving away from Grand Bahama Island

Here is a list of the top 5 most intense hurricanes in U.S. history. These are determined by the measurement of the lowest central pressure at landfall according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The lower the pressure, the more intense the storm.

1. Unnamed (FL Keys) - 1935, 892 mb

2. Camille (Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia) - 1969, 909 mb

3. Michael (Florida) - 2018, 919 mb

4. Katrina (Louisiana) - 2005, 920 mb

5. Andrew (Florida, Louisiana) 1992, 922 mb

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When it comes to the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history, four of the top 5 have occurred in the 2000’s. It’s no surprise Katrina tops the list in this category after seeing the footage of the devastation caused by this massive storm.

Hurricane Ike was once part of the top 5 costliest storms with $34.8 billion in damage, but in 2017 it was knocked out after Harvey and Irma cause a combined $175 billion in storm damage losses.

Here are the top 5 costliest storms in U.S. history from 1900-2017. Storm damage total losses were adjusted to 2017 U.S. dollars.

1. Katrina (Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi) - 2005, $160 billion

2. Harvey (Texas, Louisiana) - 2017, $125 billion

3. Sandy (Mid-Atlantic & NE US) - 2012, $70.2 billion

4. Irma (Florida) - 2017, $50 billion

5. Andrew (Florida, Louisiana) - 1992, $47.79 billion

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The saddest part about these statistics is the number of people who were killed by the wrath of these hurricanes. Technology has come leaps and bounds since early reports of these deadly storms, but hurricanes take the lives of too many people every year.

Here is a list of the top 5 deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

1. Great Galveston Storm (Texas) - 1900, 8,000 to 12,000 casualties

2. Okeechobee Hurricane (Florida) - 1928, 2,500 to 3,000 casualties

3. Katrina (Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia) - 2005, 1,800 casualties

4. Cheniere Caminada (Louisiana), 1893, 1,100 to 1,400 casualties

5. Sea Island (South Carolina, Georgia) - 1893, 1000 to 2,000 casualties

If you were to include Puerto Rico into this data as territory of the United States, Hurricane Maria would rank as the second deadliest storm in American history with nearly 5,000 deaths in September 2017.

We are entering the time of year when the Atlantic Hurricane Season typically peaks. September 10 is statistically when there’s the greatest chance for tropical systems to develop in the Atlantic basin. This is largely due to the warmth of the waters and wind patterns. Based on current atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf, it’s likely we will see several more storms before the end of the season. The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs through November.

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