In Depth

World’s deadliest hurricanes

Forecasters expect 13 named storms during this year’s Atlantic hurricane season

Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean is fast approaching, with experts predicting 13 named storms including two major events that could cause significant damage.

According to Colorado State University’s hurricane research team, the upcoming season - which traditionally begins on 1 June - will bring a total of five hurricanes, of which a couple will be Category 3 or stronger.

Under the Saffir/Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the categories are ranked:

  • Category 1 – winds speeds of 74-95 miles per hour
  • Category 2 – 96-110 mph
  • Category 3 (classed as major) – 111-129 mph
  • Category 4 (major) – 130-165 mph
  • Category 5 (major) – 157 mph or higher

The 2019 outlook “is similar to what’s considered an average season: 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes”, says The Washington Post.

The US National Hurricane Center has been tracking all occurrences of the weather phenomenon since 1851 and recording them on its hurricane database, known as Hurdat.

The deadliest hurricane predating modern meteorological technology occurred in 1780 and resulted in the deaths of an estimated 20,000 people. The violent storm made landfall in Barbados on 10 October before sweeping much of the rest of the eastern Caribbean over the following week. Barbados, Martinique and St. Lucia “were among the locations hardest hit, and there were thousands of casualties on these islands, along with significant property damage”, says History.com.

Here are the deadliest hurricanes that followed that tragedy, in the Hurdat era:

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