Last year’s Hurricane Irma was one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, slamming some Caribbean islands as a Category 5 storm. Florida was fortunately saved from the main brunt as the storm weakened upon landing in the U.S., but it was the latest in a long list of catastrophic hurricanes to have ever hit American shores. Below are some of the most devastating and costly storms ever to hit the country.
Hurricane Floyd, 1999
Hurricane Floyd slammed into North Carolina and up the East Coast, bringing with it tons of rainwater that led to extreme flooding in the affected area as it traveled north. It was but a Category 2 storm, but the constant downpour cost the U.S. government $6.9 billion.
Hurricane Hugo, 1989
When Hurricane Hugo made landfall as a Category 4 storm in South Carolina, it caused the death of 21 Americans and resulted in $7.1-billion worth of damage. It was the costliest storm in U.S. history at that time.
Hurricane Andrew, 1992
Ripping through Florida, this storm left millions without power and neighborhoods destroyed. The devastation and the problematic response led to vast changes within the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Hurricane Sandy, 2012
Leading to $71.4 billion in damage, Hurricane Sandy was the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history. The Category 1 storm pummeled New York City, flooding the city’s transportation systems and leaving thousands of homes destroyed.
Hurricane Katrina, 2005
Arguably the most destructive storm to hit the U.S. in the 21st century, Katrina’s rage led to a whopping $108 billion in damage. It made landfall as a Category 5 near Miami. Katrina was the third deadliest hurricane in U.S. history, resulting in more than 1,200 deaths.
Weatherman Jim Byrne serves as a consultant for the program “So You Think You’d Survive,” now under the Weather Channel. An alumnus of San Jose State University, he has also served as the chief meteorologist at KCOY CBS-12. More on Jim’s work here.