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The word hurricane, used to refer to a violent tropical cyclone, comes from the name of Huracan, the god of the winds in Mayan mythology. A cyclone is a spiral-shaped atmospheric vortex swirling counterclockwise or clockwise, depending on where it was formed, in the northern or southern hemisphere. The central part of the cyclone is called the “eye of the storm”, it contains a zone of reduced pressure, in which there is calm and high temperatures. A cyclone differs from an ordinary storm in its high wind speed: from 120 to 350 kilometers per hour. The process of the appearance of hurricanes has not yet been fully understood and remains the subject of research, it is only known that this atmospheric phenomenon occurs due to a combination of several factors, such as the existence of zones of low atmospheric pressure near the equator, air condensation in warm regions over the ocean and uniform wind speed at different altitudes above sea level. The largest number of hurricanes occurs off the coast of the North American continent. Tropical cyclones in Asian countries are usually called typhoons.
Of all natural phenomena that pose a direct threat to man and nature, the hurricane can be considered one of the most dangerous due to its unpredictable behavior and enormous destructive potential. In 1973, scientists created a scale of five categories to determine the severity of this natural disaster. Also, for convenience, hurricanes are given names, most often for women. This tradition came from weather forecasters who studied the behavior of cyclones in the middle of the 20th century and called them after their wives, mother-in-law and other relatives. On average, 5-8 strong cyclones occur on the planet every year, most of them do not pose a particular danger. But from time to time there are really powerful hurricanes. We invite you to learn more about them.
The worst hurricanes in the world
|Nomination||a place||Name of product||The death toll|
|The worst hurricanes in the world||1||Hurricane Camilla||259|
|2||Typhoon Nina||100 000|
|4||Hurricane mitch||11 000|
|7||Hurricane San Calixto||27 500|
|9||Cyclone Bhola||500 000|
The cyclone originated in August 1969 near the African coast, by the middle of the month it reached the Greater Cayman Islands, and the wind speed at the epicenter was about 180 kilometers per hour. The hurricane swept along the west coast of Cuba without causing much harm. He soon reached the territory of the United States, and at the height of his strength marched through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. As the elements moved over land, it began to weaken and eventually fell in torrential rain on the state of Virginia. Rainfall reached 790 mm per hour, causing catastrophic flooding, the worst in the history of the state. The hurricane was assigned the fifth category on the Saffir-Simpson scale, and its true power is still unknown, since after it there was not a single whole meteorological instrument left. According to rough estimates, the maximum wind speed of Hurricane Camille exceeded 320 kilometers per hour. The disaster claimed the lives of 143 people in three states, another 153 people died in extensive flooding and nearly 2,000 residents were injured. The hurricane destroyed more than five and a half thousand homes, many roads were blocked by mudslides and fallen trees. The total damage was $ 9.9 billion by modern standards.
An intense tropical cyclone, identified as a super typhoon, swept across China and Taiwan in August 1975. The hurricane's wind speed reached 250 kilometers per hour. The powerful natural disaster caused colossal damage, destroying the Banqiao dam, the largest in Henan province, built on the Rhuhe River, and more than 60 other, smaller dams. As a result of a water leak with a volume of 15.7 billion cubic meters, a large-scale flood began – a wave about ten kilometers wide and almost seven meters high flooded the neighborhood. The total number of victims of the disaster, according to various estimates, ranged from 170 to 230 thousand people, it includes both 26 thousand drowned and those who died later from starvation caused by flooding of crops and the death of hundreds of thousands of livestock. As a result of the destruction of transport infrastructure, approximately one million residents were cut off from the supply of food, food for them had to be delivered using air transport. Hurricane Nina was the worst natural disaster in China's history, with damages of $ 1.2 billion.
Hurricane Andrew originated in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of North America in 1992. Passing through the Bahamas, he reached a wind speed of 240 kilometers per hour. Four people died on the island state. Due to the disturbance of heat transfer in the upper layers as it moved towards the shores of the United States, the hurricane began to subside. But once over land, it gained strength again, which surprised meteorologists, since this behavior is not typical for tropical cyclones. Thanks to the timely warning and evacuation of the population, numerous casualties were avoided, but the disaster still claimed 26 lives and another 39 people later died from their injuries. Having swept through the states of Florida and Louisiana, a Category 5 hurricane demolished over 80,000 structures, leaving 355,000 people homeless, uprooted a huge number of trees and destroyed power lines over a vast territory. The US authorities estimated the damage at $ 26.5 billion, but third-party analysts said that the numbers were understated and the real losses from the disaster amounted to $ 34 billion. To clear roads and help the victims, 16,000 American soldiers had to be involved. The exact speed of Hurricane Andrew could not be measured, as it disabled all the measuring instruments, but according to rough estimates, its speed ranged from 230 to 320 kilometers per hour.
Mitch is one of the most destructive hurricanes of the last century. A tropical storm formed over the southern Caribbean in October 1998 and moved towards Central America, gradually gaining strength. By the time he reached the coast, the wind force in it reached three hundred kilometers per hour. The most powerful blow went to Honduras and Nicaragua, where the cyclone raged for several days. After that, he passed with less force over El Salvador and Guatemala, bringing torrential rains. The United States was the most fortunate, as by Florida the hurricane had already lost all its destructive power. The natural disaster led to the death of more than 20 thousand people, about 2.7 million were left homeless. In addition to its direct impact, the hurricane created a tsunami with waves up to six meters high, which demolished all coastal structures and led to extensive flooding. In Honduras, up to 80% of the transport infrastructure was destroyed, 70% of the crops were lost. The long-term consequences of the natural disaster were famine, lack of medical supplies and the rapid spread of infectious diseases. Nicaragua suffered almost as much as Honduras, and El Salvador and Guatemala required urgent evacuation of tens of thousands of residents. In addition, these two countries lost a significant portion of their exportable crops such as coffee and sugar cane. Hurricane Mitch's losses were estimated at $ 1 billion, a large sum for the poorer states of Central America.
For all the time of scientific meteorological observations Irma has become the longest of all powerful hurricanes. It raged with a constant wind speed of about 300 kilometers per hour for more than a day and a half. A tropical cyclone originated in August 2017 near the African coast and in just a few days turned into the most dangerous category 5 hurricane. When it hit the Caribbean Sea, it caused catastrophic destruction. Many islands were affected, for example, on Saint Martin, the Princess Juliana airport was destroyed and 90 percent of buildings were damaged, half of the local population was left homeless. Off the coast of Cuba, the hurricane raised waves seven meters high, and the capital of the country, Havana, was flooded. Irma's last victim was the western part of the American state of Florida, from where more than six million people had to be urgently evacuated. The flooding caused by heavy rains in the city of Miami and its surroundings caused significant damage. The disaster killed more than 130 people, and the financial damage amounted to about $ 77 billion.
Hurricane Pauline of 1977 is considered the most destructive and deadliest natural disaster ever to hit Mexico. It formed in the open ocean, about four hundred kilometers from the city of Santa Maria Huatulco and moved along the Mexican coast. The hurricane's peak wind speed exceeded 215 kilometers per hour. The hurricane brought heavy downpours with it, provoking large-scale flooding and massive landslides. As a result of the disaster, about five hundred people died, and about 300 thousand Mexicans were left homeless. Hurricane Pauline's damage was estimated to be $ 7.5 billion in 1977.
Hurricane San Calixto
The 1780 San Calixto tropical cyclone is one of the deadliest hurricanes in modern history. According to historical data, it was formed near the Cape Verde Islands and from there began its advance towards the Caribbean archipelago. When it unleashed its immense power on the islands, the hurricane's wind speed was estimated at 350 kilometers per hour. The powerful element demolished literally everything in its path, destroying buildings, uprooting trees and overturning ships in the sea. The French fleet lost 40 ships that took part in the US War of Independence, 19 Dutch ships sank off the island of Grenada, and near St. Lucia, a hurricane blew apart the fleet of a British squadron under the command of Admiral George Rodney. The wind lifted one of the ships into the air and threw it on the building of the city hospital, causing enormous damage to the latter. According to eyewitnesses, the hurricane was so powerful that it ripped the bark from the trees. In addition, the cyclone raised tidal waves up to eight meters high, hitting most of the Caribbean islands and destroying the few houses that survived the hurricane. When the storm subsided, only 10 to 5 percent of buildings remained standing in Haiti, Barbados and many other places. The total number of victims of hurricane San Calixto exceeded 27 thousand people.
Hurricane Wilma happened in 2005. He became one of the most intense tropical cyclones, which was assigned the fifth hazard category. Moving from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico and then to the southeast coast of the United States, the hurricane caused significant damage in Cuba, the Yucatan Peninsula and Florida. According to observations of meteorologists, the maximum cyclone wind speed was 295 kilometers per hour. The hurricane repeatedly changed its route, then going out on land, then returning back to the ocean. The timely response of the authorities and the subsequent evacuation measures helped to minimize the number of casualties among the population. Nevertheless, about a hundred people died from a natural cataclysm. The economic damage exceeded $ 29 billion.
Cyclone Bhola formed in the Bay of Bengal, and began to move north towards East Pakistan. In November 1970, the hurricane reached the Pakistani coast, and began to move inland, in a matter of hours, sweeping away entire settlements and tens of kilometers of agricultural land. Anchored in the port, the vessel recorded a wind speed of 220 kilometers per hour. However, the hurricane itself did much less damage than the storm tide caused by it in the Ganges delta, at which the wave height reached ten meters. The disaster spread throughout East Pakistan, and affected the Indian state of West Bengal. It led to the complete loss of rice crops over a wide area, damage to several large ships, the flooding of two airports and the destruction of nine thousand fishing vessels. About 85 percent of all structures in the path of the hurricane were left in ruins. According to various estimates, the disaster claimed the lives of 300 to 500 thousand people, and the total number of victims exceeded 3.6 million. The damage caused to the economy and residents of the countries is estimated at $ 540 million.
When it comes to the most catastrophic natural disasters, any American will immediately think of Hurricane Katrina. The infamous 2005 tropical cyclone originated near the Bahamas. Gaining strength quickly, the Category 5 hurricane was heading towards Florida, with a wind speed of 280 kilometers per hour. The first blow struck southern Florida, leaving millions of residents without electricity and some without roofs. After that, the hurricane passed through the Gulf of Mexico, damaging more than a hundred oil platforms, and moved ashore with great force. In potentially dangerous areas of the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, authorities announced an emergency evacuation. However, when the raging elements headed straight for densely populated New Orleans, the transportation infrastructure could not cope with the multimillion-dollar flow of leaving residents. About 20 percent of the population were forced to stay in the city, hiding in their homes or specially equipped shelters. Once in the New Orleans area, Hurricane Katrina caused dams to burst, leaving 80 percent of the city under water. To rescue the survivors, boats, helicopters and significant human resources were involved – 43 thousand soldiers from the National Guard. The fight against the aftermath of a tropical cyclone involved not only rebuilding infrastructure, but also containing crime as looting became widespread. The total number of victims of the disaster exceeded 1800 people, another 700 thousand were left homeless. In addition, 34 million liters of oil spilled off the coast of Louisiana, putting the state on the brink of environmental disaster. The economic losses from Hurricane Katrin are estimated at $ 125 billion.
Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.