10 Worst Hurricanes of All Time


4
Maria
People wait in line for gas as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Sept. 27, 2017 in Corozal, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage to most of its electrical, gas and water grids as well as agricultural destruction after Hurricane Maria passed through. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Hurricane Maria was the second Category 5 hurricane of the 2017 season. Coming just two weeks after a brutal Irma, Maria was particularly devastating as it passed through some of the same areas that Irma had traveled. Maria reached landfall on the tiny island of Dominica on Sept. 18, 2017 with wind speeds of 175 mph (281 kph) . It then moved on to Guadalupe, and the U.S. Virgin Islands before destroying the island of Puerto Rico on Sept. 20 (by then it had weakened to a Category 4) with winds of 155 mph or 249 kph and 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain [source: National Weather Service].

The official death toll from Maria was put at 146 (64 in Puerto Rico, 65 in Dominica and the rest in other islands). However, people believed the real total was much higher. The Puerto Rico government finally revised the death toll to 2,975 in August 2018, almost a year after the disaster, after commissioning an independent investigation from George Washington University [source: Fink].

In addition, the damage costs were estimated to be at least $1.31 billion for Dominica and over $90 billion for Puerto Rico. Maria was the deadliest storm to hit Puerto Rico and the third-costliest storm to hit the U.S. after Katrina and Harvey. At one point 90 percent of Puerto Rico was without electricity, thanks to all the downed utility poles [source: National Hurricane Center]. Even a year later, the island has still not recovered and hundreds of thousands of residents have moved to the U.S. mainland for good [source: Hernandez].

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