Largest Hurricane is defined as wind speed; cost, deaths, intensity and width are some of the ways to define the largest hurricane. If using wind speed, intensity or width as the definition, it is necessary to explain whether the measurement was recorded at landfall or was the highest measurement recorded in the hurricane’s life cycle
Hurricane Katrina of 2005, the third deadliest hurricane in United States history, killed at least 1500 people. Katrina made landfall in the United States at three different locations. Katrina’s first land fall was near the Miami-Dade / Broward county line in Florida, dropping 10 to 14 inches of rain, just after reaching hurricane status. After crossing Florida it strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall near Buras, Louisiana and then made landfall again near the Louisiana / Mississippi border as a Category 3 hurricane. Katrina’s highest storm surge of 25 to 28 feet occurred along the Mississippi coast. Also, this storm dropped 8 to 12 inches of rain inland from the northern Gulf coast and spawned thirty-three tornadoes.
The Great Galveston Hurricane
The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 was the deadliest hurricane to ever hit the United States and caused between 8000 and 12000 deaths. The storm reached the Texas coast south of Galveston on September 8 as a Category 4 hurricane with a storm surge of 8 to 15 feet. The lack of warning and the high storm surge caused this storm to have the highest death toll of any United States hurricane.
Hurricane Camille of 1969 had the highest wind speed at landfall at an estimated 190 miles per hour when it struck the Mississippi coast. This windspeed at landfall is the highest ever recorded worldwide. Actual maximum sustained winds will never be known because the hurricane destroyed all the wind-recording instruments in the landfall area. Columbia, Mississippi, located 75 miles inland, reported 120 mph sustained winds.
Hurricane Andrew holds the title of the hurricane with the second highest recorded wind speeds at landfall with winds estimated at 167 miles per hour as it crossed south Florida. Many of the instruments for measuring wind speeds were destroyed by the hurricane which leaves the actual sustained wind speeds unknown. Hurricane Andrew caused $26.5 billion in damage with $25.5 billion in south Florida and $1 billion in Louisiana. Hurricane Andrew made landfall in south Florida on August 24, bringing with it a 17 foot storm surge and an 8 foot storm surge when it hit Louisiana on August 26.
Labor Day Hurricane
The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane had estimated winds of 161 mile per hour, the third highest wind speed at landfall of any hurricane to strike the United States. The wind speed is estimated, using hurricanes with similar pressure readings at landfall, because of the lack of wind instruments at the time.
The 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane which claimed 2500-3000 lives was the second deadliest hurricane in United States history. Most of the deaths from this hurricane were caused by a lake surge of 6 to 9 feet that inundated areas surrounding Lake Okeechobee.