These are the 6 deadliest hurricanes ever recorded

This story has been updated.

Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm that devastated a multitude of Caribbean islands in its path, is the most powerful hurricane (as measured by wind speed) to ever form in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Weather Service.

» RELATED: Irma kills power to 350,000 on coast and across South Georgia

The hurricane and its once record-breaking 185-mph winds have been downgraded to a Category 1 tropical storm after taking at least 30 lives in the Caribbean and Florida combined.

But the storm is still expected to hit Georgia and South Carolina hard Monday.

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Recommended for you

Most read

  1. 1 David Copperfield forced to reveal how illusion works
  2. 2 Chancellor demands that GBI agent be removed from Fort Valley case
  3. 3 Jury of seven women, five men deciding Tex McIver's fate

» RELATED: Where is Hurricane Irma now? Follow the tropical storm as it plows into Georgia

As of Thursday afternoon, Hurricane Irma has reportedly killed at least 10 people. The death toll is expected to rise.

» RELATED: What will Hurricane Irma mean for Georgia?

Hurricane Harvey, which struck Texas on Aug. 25 and flooded the Houston, Texas, area with 52 inches of rain, killed at least 70 people, according to the Washington Post.

» RELATED: Georgia DOT: With Irma approaching, stay off the roads

The six deadliest hurricanes in recorded history:

Great Hurricane of 1780

Death toll: 20,000-22,000

Cost damage unknown

The deadliest Atlantic hurricane devastated the Caribbean regions of Barbados, Martinique and Sint Eustatius in mid-October 1780.

According to the National Weather Service, the hurricane struck in the midst of the American Revolution and drowned thousands of French soldiers off the coast of Martinique. 

» RELATED: 10-year-old Florida evacuee hit, killed in DeKalb

Hurricane Mitch (1988)

Death toll estimates: 10,000-12,000

Cost damage estimate: $6.2 billion

As it approached Honduras as a Category 5 storm, much of the coast and offshore islands were destroyed. But according to, the storm’s heavy rainfall, flooding and mudslides caused some of the major infrastructure damage.

Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize felt the brunt of Hurricane Mitch, the deadliest hurricane to hit the Western Hemisphere in more than 200 years.

The exact death toll varies between 10,000 to more than 11,000, according to various reports. NOAA reported Central America lost 9,000 people with another 9,000 missing.

» RELATED: Delta cancels 800 flights as Irma nears Atlanta

Galveston Hurricane (1900)

Death toll estimates: 8,000-12,000

Cost damage estimate: $30 million

The 1900 Galveston Hurricane in Galveston, Texas, was the most deadly to hit the U.S.

It began near Cuba as a tropical storm, moved through the Gulf of Mexico and eventually reached Texas as a Category 4 hurricane on Sept. 8, 1900.

The Texas city suffered a storm surge up to 15 feet high, killing roughly 8,000 people. Some reports estimated that number to be as high as 12,000.

» RELATED: Mountains of donations for displaced pets at Atlanta Humane Society Hurricane Irma emergency shelter

Hurricane Fifi-Orlene (1974)

Death toll estimates: 8,000-10,000

Cost damage estimate: $1.8 billion

Hurricane Fifi (or Hurricane Orlene) is recorded as the fourth deadliest hurricane in Atlantic history.

It emerged near the Caribbean Sea and devastated Honduras, Jamaica, Belize and then began to merge with another storm (Orlene) as it headed toward Mexico.

Most fatality estimates range between 8,000 and 10,000.

» RELATED: Hurricane Irma: Metro Atlanta schools announce closings

Hurricane in the Dominican Republic (1930)

Death toll estimates: 2,000-8,000

Cost damage estimate: $50 million

This 1930 tropical storm impacted several areas in the Atlantic basin, but left the heaviest impact on the island of Dominica and the Dominican Republic, where it made landfall in early September as a Category 4 storm.

Death toll estimates vary between 2,000 and 8,000.

» RELATED: Hurricane Irma: Why did the ocean disappear near the Bahamas?

Hurricane Flora (1963)

Death toll estimates: 7,000-8,000

Cost damage estimate: $528 million

After emerging near the Cape Verde islands on Sept. 26, Flora reached the Caribbean islands as a Category 3 hurricane, struck Haiti as a Category 4 storm and roared over Cuba, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and other regions.

Hurricane Flora is regarded as the deadliest in the Atlantic Basin since the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, killing between 7,186 and 8,000 people.

» RELATED: How strong was Hurricane Katrina?

Data used for this list was collected from the National Oceanic and Atmopheric Administration (NOAA),, and

More from AJC