(Reuters) - Hurricane Harvey is expected to strike coastal Texas at about midnight on Saturday as the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. mainland in more than a decade, bringing the potential for record flooding from a storm surge and rainfall.
Following are the deadliest hurricanes to make landfall in the United States since 1851, the earliest year for which the National Weather Service keeps such data:
- Galveston Hurricane, 1900
The Category 4 storm, which made landfall in Galveston, Texas, ranks as the deadliest weather disaster in U.S. history. It killed at least 8,000 people, according to the National Weather Service. The storm also flattened thousands of buildings in the coastal city of Galveston, leaving many people homeless. The city was flooded by a storm surge more than 15 feet (4.6 meters) tall.
- Okeechobee Hurricane, 1928
The Category 4 storm made landfall in Palm Beach County, Florida. An estimated 2,500 people died, but the figure could be as high as 3,000, according to the National Weather Service. The south shore of Lake Okeechobee was hit by severe flooding as a surge of water topped dikes in the area.
- Hurricane Katrina, 2005
The hurricane made a direct hit on New Orleans as a Category 3 storm, causing levees and flood walls to fail in dozens of places. Most of New Orleans was flooded, and some people who were stranded in their homes climbed to the roofs to await rescue. About 1,200 people died, according to the National Weather Service. Most victims were in Louisiana, but neighbouring Mississippi also was hard hit. Katrina caused an estimated $108 billion in damage, making it the costliest hurricane ever to strike the United States.
- The Cheniere Caminada Hurricane, 1893
The Category 4 storm, also known as the Great October Storm, struck an island off the coast of Louisiana. Nearly 2,000 people died, including those killed in boats off-shore, according to the National Weather Service.
- Sea Islands Hurricane, 1893
The Category 3 hurricane struck near Savannah, Georgia, before veering into South Carolina. It came at high tide, producing a storm surge 16 feet (4.9 meters) tall, according to the National Weather Service. An estimated 1,100 to 2,000 people died, most as a result of the storm surge.
- Georgia-South Carolina Hurricane, 1881
The Category 2 hurricane made landfall on Ossabaw Island off the coast of Georgia and also wreaked havoc in Savannah and parts of South Carolina. It killed an estimated 700 people.
- Atlantic-Gulf Hurricane, 1919
As a Category 4 storm, the eye of the hurricane passed just south of the Florida Keys, an archipelago off the southern coast of Florida, before striking the Gulf Coast in Texas as a Category 3. It killed an estimated 600 people, mostly in ships that were sunk or went missing, according to the National Weather Service.
- The Great New England Hurricane, 1938
The Category 3 storm made landfall in Long Island and Connecticut. It caused about 600 deaths, including off-shore fatalities, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of Massachusetts experienced wind gusts up to 186 miles per hour (299 km/h).
- Hurricane Audrey, 1957
The Category 4 hurricane struck near the Texas-Louisiana border, unleashing storm surges that reached up to 25 miles (40 km) inland in the low-lying areas, according to the National Weather Service. It killed more than 400 people.
- Florida Keys Labor Day Hurricane, 1935
The storm ripped through the Florida Keys as a Category 5 storm. It then moved north just off the western coast of Florida before turning inland and making landfall as a Category 2. More than 400 people died.
Reporting by Taylor Harris in New York and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank McGurty and Leslie Adler