A History Of Category 5 Hurricanes

September 8th, 2017 | R. Rados

Powerful hurricanes happen in the Atlantic ocean on an average of three to four years. It's nothing new as far as history is concerned, but with the growth of populations, they can cause more devastation than ever before. The growth of mass media and smartphones has allowed us to see the devastation in ways that past generations couldn't.

These are five of the worst historic category 5 hurricanes from before the 1980s that destroyed lives and caused catastrophic damage.

5. Hurricane Carla - 1961

She lasted nearly two full weeks and she struck Texas in September of 1961, causing $325M in damages and 43 deaths. At the time, Carla was one of the most costly hurricanes to make landfall in the United States. When she made landfall, she lasted almost 20 hours and brought 175 mph winds—just 10 mph less than Hurricane Irma.

Carla became a tropical storm by September 12, just a day after making landfall on September 11.

4. Hurricane Beulah - 1967

This crazy lady hit category 5 but was only a category three when she made landfall. She still managed to cause massive flooding in Texas because she hovered over the state for days, even after she became a tropical storm. During her reign of terror in 1967, she spawned 115 tornadoes and killed 59 people and caused $208M in damages, which would equate to over $1.5B in 2017.  

3. The Okeechobi Hurricane - 1928

After destroying some French islands in the Atlantic, this hurricane killed more than 4,000 people by the time it finished, which is a big number for a hurricane in 1928. On September 13, it reached category 5 and made landfall in Puerto Rico, where it killed more than 300 people and caused $50M in destruction, which would equate to $715M in 2017. That was in Puerto Rico alone.

It made landfall in Florida on September 17, where it killed more than 2,000 people and caused $25M in damages, which equates to about $350M in 2017.

2. The Cuban Hurricane – 1932

This hurricane was one of the worst to ever hit Cuba and was considered “atypical” based on its unusual path of destruction. It didn't just hit Cuba, it wreaked havoc in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands with its 175 mph winds, leaving more than 3,000 people dead and $40M worth of destruction—which equates to approximately $715M in 2017.

1. Hurricane David - 1979

This asshole killed more than 2,000 people and left a massive trail of destruction, particularly in the Dominican Republic. The damages totalled more than $1.5B in 1979—equating to $5B in 2017. After David, more than 75% of the people living in the Dominican had lost their homes.

Although Florida and most southern states avoided major damage and casualties, David was one the worst hurricanes prior to the 1980s.

Other hurricanes could have easily made this list, but in terms of damages and lives lost, these were five of the worst category 5 hurricanes in history.