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The Three Worst Hurricanes Of All Time

Summer storm season is here, and hurricane season is fast approaching. While it’s unlikely that we’ll see another Hurricane Sandy this fall, it helps to be vigilant and prepared as we enter into stormy territory. As a claims adjuster in Philadelphia, we’ve familiarized ourselves with plenty of historical cases involving the world’s worst storms. Today, we’ll review three of the deadliest in history, if only to help us all become a little wiser in the event of severe weather.

Great Hurricane of 1780

Deadly hurricanes like Sandy and Katrina would lead you to believe that the worst weather events have all happened in the past fifteen years or so. While we’ve had our share of whopping weather events this millennium, the worst hurricane in recorded history actually occurred in the days when the United States of America was in its infancy.

Also called the Great Hurricane of the Antilles, the Great Hurricane struck Barbados with heavy rains on October 9. It went on to rage through Puerto Rico and what was then called Hispaniola, as well as Bermuda and Florida. All told, it resulted in at least 22,000 deaths, although some estimates put the figure at around 27,500.

Hurricane Mitch

Hurricane Mitch is not as well-known in the United States as the notorious Sandy and Katrina, but this October 1998 hurricane caused far more fatalities and damages—11,000 dead, thousands missing, and $5 billion in damages in Honduras alone, where the bulk of the storm wreaked its havoc. All told, Mitch is the second-deadliest hurricane on record.

In addition to flooding, heavy rains and structural damage, the storm caused harrowing mudslides throughout the region, including in Nicaragua, where 2,000 deaths were mudslide-related.

The Galveston Hurricane

The Galveston Hurricane, while it took a tragic 9,000 lives, is one of those larger-than-life tales of the West that befits its Texas setting. Before the 1900 hurricane, Galveston, TX was bustling boom town, sometimes called the Wall Street of the Southwest. All that began to change early in the month of September, when the National Weather Service began receiving word that a storm was brewing in the East. Tragically, very few of Galveston’s 36,000 residents were warned of the storm’s approach, and most of the 100 evacuees who decided to leave the city were later doomed by washed-out train tracks.

In the aftermath of the storm, houses were piled high in unrecognizable heaps of rubble, and there were so many victims that burial at sea was preferable to traditional internment. Despite the wreckage caused by the storm, there was one final outcome whose grandiosity was positive instead of tragic: an enormous seawall was built along the coast, protecting the city from storms to come.

Of course, a storm doesn’t have to be quite as dramatic as any of these to cause some serious property damage. If you need our help in the aftermath, call our team of public adjusters in Philadelphia.

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