For many residents, memories of the destruction during Hurricane Ike in 2008 remain. But sociologists estimate people only remember the worst effects of a hurricane for about seven years, according to the National Weather Service. Here’s a list of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history.
The deadliest storms
1. 1900 Storm in Galveston — 8,000 to 12,000 deaths
The deadliest natural disaster to strike North America made landfall in Galveston on Sept. 8, 1900. At least 8,000 people died in the Category 4 storm, but the number could be as high as 12,000.
2. Lake Okeechobee Hurricane — 2,500 to 3,000 deaths
About 6:15 p.m. on Sept. 16, 1928, the Category 4 storm made landfall in Palm Beach County on the eastern side of Florida. The greatest loss of life was around Lake Okeechobee, where waves topped the levee and drowned thousands of migrant farm workers.
3. Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi — 1,200 deaths
In the early morning hours of Aug. 29, 2005, the Category 3 hurricane hit the Gulf Coast, displacing thousands of people from their homes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The levee system around New Orleans failed, and the federal government was accused of a slow response to the disaster.
4. Cheniere Caminada Hurricane — 1,100-1,400 deaths
The Category 4 hurricane advanced suddenly over southeastern Louisiana in early October 1893. The greatest destruction occurred between New Orleans and Port Eads, where storm surge swept away everything in its path. Most of the deaths were caused by drowning. The total deaths including offshore losses were close to 2,000.
5. Sea Islands Hurricane in South Carolina and Georgia — 1,000-2,000 deaths
On Aug. 27, 1893, the Category 3 made landfall near Savannah, Ga., bringing a storm surge of about 16 feet. Nearly all buildings on the barrier islands were destroyed. Most of the deaths were caused by the storm surge.
6. Georgia and South Carolina hurricane — 700 deaths
In historical reports, the hurricane is referred to as “Storm 5” of the season. The Category 2 hurricane made landfall during the night of Aug. 27, 1881, where the eye of the storm crossed an area about 25 miles southwest of Savannah, Ga.
7. Hurricane Audrey in Louisiana and Texas — at least 416 deaths
The Category 4 hurricane made landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border in late June 1957. Its storm surge of 12 feet inundated the flat coast of southwestern Louisiana as far as 25 miles inland. Entire communities were demolished and almost all deaths were attributed to storm surge.
8. Labor Day Hurricane in Florida — 409 deaths
On Sept. 3, 1935, the Category 5 hurricane brought a storm surge of about 20 feet. The compact hurricane destroyed nearly everything in its path as it hit the Florida Keys.
9. Last Island Hurricane in Louisiana — 400 deaths
The Category 4 storm struck Last Island, a barrier island and resort, on Aug. 10, 1856. The hotel and gambling establishments were destroyed, and only one terrified cow remained on the island after the catastrophe, according to the weather service.
10. Great Miami Hurricane in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama — 372 deaths
The Category 4 hurricane struck on Sept. 18, 1926, entirely inundating Miami Beach. It continued across the Gulf Coast region and flooded cities.
Costliest storms since 1980, adjusted for inflation
1. Hurricane Katrina — $152.5 billion
The 30-foot storm surge, winds and failure of the levee system in New Orleans caused widespread damage in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Other states further inland experienced damage from high winds and flooding.
2. Hurricane Sandy — $67.6 billion
In October 2012, the storm, which led to 159 deaths, caused damage across the highly populated northeastern United States. It also caused the New York Stock Exchange to close for two consecutive business days — which last happened in 1888 because of a major winter storm.
3. Hurricane Andrew — $45.9 billion
In August 1992, the Category 4 hurricane hit Florida and Louisiana with high winds. It killed 61 people and destroyed more than 125,000 homes.
4. Hurricane Ike — $33.3 billion
When the storm made landfall in Texas, it was the largest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. It killed 112 people. While storm surge caused major damage in the county and across the coast, the hurricane also led to wind and flooding damage as far away as Pennsylvania.
5. Hurricane Ivan — $25.8 billion
In September 2004, the Category 3 hurricane made landfall in Alabama. It caused damage from storm surge and flooding in Alabama and the Florida panhandle. It killed 57 people.
6. Hurricane Wilma — $23.2 billion
The storm was a Category 3 hurricane when it hit southwest Florida in October 2005, killing 35 people and causing major flooding and damaging winds.
7. Hurricane Rita — $22.6 billion
The Category 3 storm made landfall at the Texas-Louisiana border in September 2005, killing 119 people. It caused significant storm surge and wind damage along the coast and some inland flooding across the Gulf Coast.
8. Hurricane Charley — $20.8 billion
In August 2004, the Category 4 storm hit southwest Florida, resulting in major wind damage and some storm surge damage. It killed 35 people.
9. Hurricane Hugo — $17.3 billion
After hitting Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Category 4 storm slammed into South Carolina and North Carolina with a storm surge of more than 20 feet. The storm killed 86 people.
10. Hurricane Irene — $14.3 billion
Although it was a Category 1 hurricane when it made landfall over coastal North Carolina, the storm brought torrential rainfall and flooding to the Northeast. More than 7 million homes and businesses lost power during the storm. Numerous tornadoes also caused damage. It killed 45 people.
Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration