Top Deadliest Storms of All Time in US History


There’s a raw power to nature that we often overlook or forget about. However, some of the deadliest storms in US history have taken it upon themselves to remind us of nature’s fury.

Today, we’re taking a look at some of the most intense storms to ever strike the US. Remember: we might think we’ve tamed nature, but we’re truly at the whims of our environment.

Hurricane Katrina

The 2005 Category 3 Hurricane Katrina was a touchstone of an era for a number of reasons. The storm impacted New Orleans, a city that famously sits below sea level despite being on the coast. Katrina overflowed the levies, resulting in widespread flooding and tremendous loss of life and property. In total, Katrina directly resulted in 1,200 deaths.

Many people felt as though the government’s response to the plight of the victims was lacking. Some speculated that the response was due to the storm primarily affecting lower-income African Americans, a demographic that is too often underserved in the US.

Okeechobee Hurricane

The 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane in Florida landed in Palm Beach County. It draws its name from the Okeechobee Lake, Florida’s largest freshwater lake. The storm was intense, landing with Category 4 wind speeds, bringing tremendous storm surge waters and widespread flooding in the region.

All of these factors combined to make the storm the second-deadliest in US history, claiming between 2,000 and 3,000 lives.

Galveston Hurricane

No storm on US soil has ever claimed more lives than the Galveston Hurricane. As the name suggests, the 1900 storm hit in Galveston, Texas, an island city on the Gulf of Mexico. The storm is thought to have made landfall with wind speeds exceeding 135 MPH, bringing unmatched destruction and fury from the sea. Somewhere between 8,000 and 12,000 lives were lost to the storm.

This means that, at the lower end of the estimate, Galveston killed four times as many people as the next-deadliest storm in US history. At the high end, it may have killed as many as six times more people than the Okeechobee Hurricane. Hopefully no storm ever unseats Galveston as the deadliest storm in US history.