This list of the worst hurricanes ever includes photos of some of the most destructive natural disasters ever recorded. What were the biggest hurricanes in history? Every hurricane season, many thousands of miles of coastline around the world are threatened. Even scarier, the lives of people and animals settled along the shores are in grave danger from powerful winds and some of the strongest waters in the world. To get some sense of the proportion of the damage caused by these storms, here's a look back at the most destructive hurricanes ever recorded – simply the deadliest, largest, and worst hurricanes in history. Be careful out there. If you're interested in more natural disasters, check out the worst tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, and earthquakes in history. They'll really put life into perspective for you.
Hurricane Patricia is expected to be the strongest, most powerful hurricane ever recorded. It's headed towards Mexico at dangerous speeds as of October 23, 2015, but we won't know what the damage is like until after the weekend. Patricia is supposed to hit the coast of Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta - tourist hotspots on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.
As of Friday morning, it already has a central pressure recording of 880 millibars, which is the lowest pressure rating of a cyclone storm in over 30 years. It's severity can be compared to Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013, and killed over 6,000 people. That storm, however, had a slightly higher pressure rating of 870 millibars, which is extremely bad news for those living in the soon-to-be-affected areas.
1970 Bhola cyclone
Taking the cake for the deadliest tropical cyclone ever recorded, the 1970 Bhola Cyclone hit East Pakistan (Bangladesh today) and India's West Bengal on November 12, 1970. While the exact death toll is unknown it is estimated that 300,000-500,000 people perished in the aftermath of this storm, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in recent history.
This cyclone was not extremely large, reaching strengths equivalent of a Category 3 Hurricane. The killing power of this storm was almost completely attributed to the cyclone's surge, which flooded most of the low lying islands in the Ganges Delta, literally wiping villages and crops off the face of the Earth. see more on 1970 Bhola cyclone
Typhoon Nina 1975
Not to be known as some regular typhoon, Super Typhoon Nina landed onto the scene with a bang, hitting China hard and quickly destroying the Banqiao Dam. The collapse of the Banqiao Dam led to such great flooding that it set off a series of dam collapses throughout China, greatly magnifying the damage caused by Typhoon Nina.
With a 100,000+ death toll, Super Typhoon Nina is the 2nd deadliest Typhoon in recorded history, though we think it should be #1 since the most deadly typhoon, which hit Haiphong, Vietnam in 1881, didn't even get a name.
Kenna, a category 5 hurricane, was the 3rd most intense Pacific hurricane to ever strike Mexico's West Coast. Hitting San Blas, Nayarit on October 25th, 2002, was the 3rd category 5 hurricane of the hurricane season. 140 mph winds and a 16-foot surge devastated the coastline, causing $101 million dollars in damage.
Not happy to just be one of the most destructive Pacific hurricanes to make landfall in Mexico, Hurricane Pauline had to be one of the deadliest too.
Working it's way up the Mexican coastline, Pauline dumped torrential rainfalls with 16" of rain in Acapulco alone! The relentless downpour caused disastrous land slides in some of Mexico's poorest villages, killing roughly 250-400 people and leaving a striking 300,000 people homeless.
Beyond all the lives destroyed, Hurricane Pauline caused a massive amount of damage, exceeding $7.5 billion (USD 1997).
When people think of Hawaii, they often imagine lazy days of surfing and long luaus that go into the night. The last thing most people think of is hurricanes, yet in September of 1992 that's just what they got.
Born from the strong El Nino warm phase of 91-94, Hurricane Iniki reached cateogry 4 level winds as the eye passed over the island of Kauaʻi.
Not surprisingly, the Hawaiians handled the effects of Hurricane Iniki amazingly well. Communities held parties to cook all the perishable food since the power was knocked out. Grocery stores offered free food to anyone who needed it, while most insisted on paying anyways. While there was some looting in the aftermath of the storm, it was very limited in comparison to what happened after Hurricane Katrina and other disasters.
Amazingly, there were only six deaths attributed to Hurricane Iniki even though the islanders were given less than 24 hours notice. The monetary damage, however, was huge for the small island, totalling over $1.8 billion (USD 1992).
Galveston Hurricane of 1900
The year was 1900, the place was Galveston, Texas. On September 4th, a warning was released, saying a large tropical storm had just passed Cuba and was headed west across the Gulf of Mexico.
Even though the US Weather Bureau had warning that a large storm was on its way, the policy at the time was to avoid pesky words like "hurricane," or "tornado," to avoid giving people a chance to escape oops, I mean to avoid panic.
In this case, panic is really what the people of Galveston should have done, as there was a big ass storm on it's way, and they were grossly unprepared.
In 1900, Galveston was only about nine feet above sea level, which was a bit too low. When the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 made landfall on September 8th, it brought a 15-foot tall storm surge, along with 135mph winds, making it a category 4 hurricane. The surge was so powerful that it washed over the entire island, knocking buildings off their foundations, and then pounding them into scraps of wood. In total, over 3600 houses were destroyed.
The Galveston Hurricane is the deadliest natural disaster to ever hit the US, claiming over 6,000 lives. The total damages exceeded $20 million in 1900's dollars, which is over $500 million in today's dollars (inflation is no joke!).
Hurricane Ike is in the top three for most destructive hurricane's to ever hit the United States, with $24 billion (2008 USD) and with additional damage of $7.3 billion in Cuba, $200 million in the Bahamas, and $500 million in the Turks and Caicos, amounting to a total of $32 billion in damages.
Hurricane Ike resulted in at least 195 deaths, all the way from Haiti to Galveston and many places in between.