Major Past Hurricanes

Major Past Hurricanes

Hurricanes have been a way of life for millions of years. There have no doubt been very intense hurricanes thousands of years ago, but the first written account of a hurricane was on Aug. 27, 1667. Settlers wrote of a hurricane in Jamestown Va. on what would become U.S. soil. Since then there have been hundreds of hurricanes. Each hurricane is rated on the Saffir-Simpson scale based on windspeed, pressure, and storm surge:

Saffir-Simpson Scale

Maximum sustained

wind speed mph
Minimum surface

pressure (mb)
Storm surge


174-96greater than 9801.0-1.7 [3-5]

297-111979-9651.8-2.6 [6-8]

3112-131964-9452.7-3.8 [9-12]

4132-155944-9203.9-5.6 [13-18]

5156+less than 9205.7+ [19+]

The next chart show an estimate of how much damage each type of Saffir-Simpson hurricane causes:


1MINIMAL Damage mostly to shrubs, trees, foliage, and homes without foundations. Not a large amount of damage to other buildings. Some poorly constructed sighns are blown over and/or destoryed. Low-lying coastal roads are flooded, small damage to docks, some small craft torn from anchors and other moorings.

Hurricane Jerry (1989)

2MODERATEConsiderable damage to shrubs, trees, and other plants; some trees blown down. Major damage to mobile homes. Extensive damage to poorly constructed signs. Some roofing materials are blown away, some window and door damage. No major damage to buildings. Coast roads and low-lying escape routes inland totally flooded 2 to 4 hours before arrival of hurricane center.

Considerable damage to docks. Marinas flooded. Small boats in torn from anchors totally. Evacuation of some shoreline houses and low-lying areas required.

Bob (1991)

3EXTENSIVELeaves torn from trees; large trees blown down. Practically all poor signs blown down. Some damage to roofs; some window and door damage. Some structural damage to small buildings. Mobile homes destroyed. Serious flooding at coast and many smaller homes and buildings located near the coast are destroyed; Larger structures near ocean damaged by storm surge and floating debris. Low-lying escape routes inland cut by rising water 3 to 5 hours before hurricane center arrives. Flat terrain 5 feet of less above sea level flooded inland 8 miles or more. Evacuation of homes on low land within several blocks of shoreline possibly required.

Hurricane Gloria (1985)

4EXTREMEShrubs and trees blown down along with all other plants; all signs down. Lare amount of damage to roofs, windows and doors. Someroofs totally blown away on small residences. All mobile homes destroyed. Low-lyingland 10 feet or less above sea level flooded inland as far as 6 miles. Major damage to lower floors of structures near shore due to flooding and storm surges. Low-lying scape routes inland cut by rising water 3 to 5 hours before hurricane center arrives. Beaches are eroded. Massive evacuation of all residences within 500 yards of shore possibly required, and of single-story residences within 2 miles of shore. Hurricane Andrew


5CATASTROPHICShrubs and trees blown down; considerable damage to roofs of buildings; all signs down. Very severe and extensive damage to windows and doors. Complete failure of roofs on many residences and industrial buildings. Glass shattered on windows and doors. Some complete building failures. Small buildings overturned or blown away. Complete destruction of mobile homes. Major damage to lower floors of all structures less than 15 feet above sea level within 500 yards of shore. Low-lying escape routes inland cut by rising water 3 to 5 hours before hurricane center arrives. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5 to 10 miles of shore possibly required. Hurricane Camille (1969)

There have been many past hurricanes. Following is a list of the worst hurricanes and typhoons.

Past Storms
DateName/TypeCategoryDeath/Damages/Cost (if possible)Location

Aug. 27, 1967HurricaneUnknown First written acount of hurricane. Death rate unknown.Jamestown, VA

Oct. 7, 1737TyphoonUnknownTyphoon sank 20,00 ships along the mouth of Hooghly River near Calcutta. 300,000 died.Bay of Bengal

Oct. 10-12, 1780HurricaneProbably a type 5Deadliest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded cut from Barbados to Puerto Rico; virtually destroyed British, Spanish, and French fleets in the area. 20,000 to 30,000 died.Caribbean

Sept. 23, 1815HurricaneUnknown"Great September Gale" reshaped shoreline. Death rate unknown.New England

Oct. 5, 1864TyphoonUnknownTyphoon in bay rushed up Hooghly River and destroyed much of Calcutta. 50,000 to 70,000 drowned.Bay of Bengal

1876TyphoonUnknownTyphoon struck the coast of Bengal near mouth of Meghna River; damaged offshore islands of Chittagong. 100,000 died immediatly; 100,00 more died later due to starvationBengal, India

1881TyphoonUnknownTyphoon smashed into Gulf of Tonkin. 300,000 died immediately, many more later due to disease and starvation.Haiphong, Indochina

June 6, 1882Tropical CycloneUnknownCyclone in Arabian Sea flooded Bombay harbor. 100,000 drowned. Bombay, India

Aug. 19, 1886HurricaneUnknownHurricane razed or damaged nearly every house; town permanently abandoned. 250 dead.Indianola, Tex.

Oct. 1, 1893HurricaneUnknownHurricane originating in Gulf of Mexico moved ashore near Fort Eads and moved into Mississippi coastal regions. 1,800 dead.New Orleans, La.

August 1899Hurricane San CiriacoUnknownHurricane raved much of the carribean. More than 3,000 dead.Puerto Rico

Sept. 8, 1900HurricaneUnknownHurricane originating in the Caribbean moved ashore at Galveston, wiping out much of the city; Galveston was later rebuilt and raised 17 ft above high-tide level. 6,000 dead. Galveston, Tex.

1906HurricaneUnknown6,000 diedHong Kong

1928HurricaneUnknown10,000 diedCarribbean, Florida

1930HurricaneUnknown2,000 deadSanto Domingo

1934TyphoonUnknown4,000 deadHonshu, Japan

1938HurricaneUnknown600 died; 306 million dollars in damagesNew England

1942HurricaneUnknown40,000 diedBengal, India

1954Hurricane HazelUnknown1,173 died; 281 million dollars in damagesNorth and South Carolina

1955Hurricane DianeUnknown390 died; 1,7 billion dollars in damagesNorth Carolina and New England

1957Hurricane AudreyUnknown7,000 died, 150 million dollars in damagesLouisiana, Texas, and Alabama were all hit

1963Hurricane FloraUnknown7,190 people diedHaiti and Cuba (Trinidad and Tabago)

1965Hurricane BetseyCategory 475 people died; 1.42 billion dollars worth of damages!Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana in a row

1969Hurricane CamilleVery strong Category 5256 people died, 1.42 billion dollars in wrected houses, buildings, signs and other constructions. Wind speeds were over 200 miles per hourMississippi and Louisiana.

Sept. 19-20, 1974Hurricane FifiCategory 38,000 dead; 60,000 homeless. $1 billion dollars in damagesHonduras

Aug. 31-Sept. 4, 1979Hurricane DavidCategory 31,200 died; $1 billion in damages. Dominican Republic and Dominica were demolishedCaribbean, southeast U.S.

Sept. 2-3 1984Typhoon IkeCategory 5Typhoon Ike swept across the Philippines, becoming the worst storm to hit the country in the century. More than 1,200 died; I million were homlessSouthern Philippines

1985Hurricane GloriaCategory 2Not AvailiableLong Island, New England

1988Hurricane GilbertUnavailable800 died, 10 billion dollars in damagesCaribbean/Gulf of Mexico

Sep. 16-22, 1989Hurricane HugoCategory 4Hugo wreaked a path of destruction through Caribbean islands from Guadeloupe to Puerto Rico before lashing North and South Carolina. More than 500 dead, Billion+ dollars in damages.Caribbean, southeast U.S.

1992Hurricane AndrewCategory 4Andrew virtually destroyed the Florida towns of Homestead and Florida City and the Louisiana cities of Morgan City and Lafayette. About 40 dead, estimated 20 billion in property damages.The Bahamas, Florida, Louisiana

1996Hurricane FranCategory 3Destroyed a lot of the the North Carolina shore. 35 deaths and 2 billion in damagesNorth Carolina

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