The 5 deadliest hurricanes to hit the Caribbean in the past 40 years
Between 1979 and 2019, the five most deadly storms to be felt in the Caribbean region took a total of 11,152 lives. Most of the deadliest storms took place between late August and mid-September, causing between $594.1 million and $125 billion in damages. Maria, the deadliest hurricane on this list was also one of the deadliest storms in U.S. history, with a death toll more than 70 times the original count. Luckily, most of the deaths recorded were not experienced in the Caribbean region alone.
These are the deadliest, in ascending order.
5. Hurricane Gordon- 1,152 deaths
Between November 8–21, 1994, Tropical Storm Gordon made its presence felt across Jamaica, Cuba, Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas after which it made landfall in the Southern United States where the majority of the damage was felt. Windspeeds of 85 mph (140 km/h) ravaged affected areas, and despite it escalating to only a category 1 hurricane, it ultimately left $594.1 million in damages in its wake.
4. Hurricane Katrina- 1,836 deaths
Between August 23–30, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast of the United States as a category 5 hurricane, after developing from a tropical depression that formed over the Bahamas on August 23. Windspeeds of 175 mph (280 km/h) ravaged affected areas, leaving $125 billion in damages. Hurricane Katrina became notorious for the many failures in disaster response that were experienced during the time. In the decade that followed, FEMA paid out billions in grants to ensure better preparedness.
3. Hurricane David- 2,068 deaths
Hurricane David was one of the most devastating hurricanes to ever hit the Caribbean. Between August 25 – September 8, 1979, Hurricane David headed for the Caribbean sea with its most ravaging impacts felt on the island of Dominica on August 29. Windspeeds of 175 mph (280 km/h) ravaged affected areas, leaving $1.54 billion in damages in its wake. On August 27, two days after forming, the storm reached hurricane status and headed straight for the Caribbean Sea. Dominica took an extremely hard hit on August 29. It was the worst storm to hit the island to that time. The next day, the hurricane turned on Santo Domingo and the Dominican Republic as a Category 5 storm, with waves as high as 20 to 30 feet. Mudslides caused by the storm killed nearly 1,200 people. On September 1, David hit the Bahamas and, two days later, it made landfall on the United States.
2. Hurricane Jeanne- 3,037 deaths
Between September 13–28, 2004, Hurricane Jeanne hit Puerto Rico after forming as a tropical depression over Guadeloupe and St. Croix. Windspeeds of 120 mph (195 km/h) ravaged affected areas, leaving $7.94 billion in damages in its wake.
1. Hurricane Maria- 3,059 deaths
Between September 16 and October 2, 2017, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles (Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, The Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos Islands) while they were still recovering from Hurricane Irma that had hit weeks before. The most severe impacts were felt on the island of Dominica. Windspeeds of up to 175 mph (280 km/h) were felt in the affected areas, leaving $96.1 billion in damages in its wake. Hurricane Maria left the affected areas without electricity, clean food and water for months.