The 7 Worst Natural Disasters in American History

1. Hurricane Katrina
In 2005, one of the most devastating natural disasters in American history, Hurricane Katrina, slammed into the United States. Costing the United States $108 billion in damages, this remains the most destructive natural disaster in American history. In total, 1836 people lost their lives because of this disaster. Most of the deaths took place in Louisiana, where 1577 people were killed due to the hurricane.

2. Cheniere Caminada Hurricane

In 1893 the hurricane also known as the Great October Storm hit Louisiana. The total death count comes in at about 2000 people killed. Nobody is completely certain how many people died to this hurricane, as it happened so long ago that all death tolls are estimates. This hurricane completely removed the town it’s named after off the map, leaving only a single destroyed home in its wake.

3. Johnstown Flood

The Johnstown Flood was a debilitating natural disaster that happened back in 1889. Due to a fatal failure in a dam system, a gigantic flood washed over Johnstown Pennsylvania. This flood was also known as the Great Flood of 1889. The flooding killed 2209 people, and it also cost the United States $17 million in damages. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about $450 million in damage.

4. San Francisco earthquake

The worst earthquake to happen in American history happened in San Francisco in 1906. A powerful magnitude 7.8 struck the city early in the morning April 18th, causing mass devastation. The main reason this earthquake was so devastating is because it caused a ton of fire to break out in the city. The fires weren’t put out for several days, and as a result, over 80% of the city of San Francisco was burnt down. 3000 people also lost their lives, either from the fires or from the earthquake itself.

5. Okeechobee Hurricane

The Okeechobee Hurricane is the 2nd deadliest hurricane to ever hit the United States. This hurricane did not only hit areas belonging to the U.S, so while the total death count of the hurricane is over 4000, only 3000 of those people were from the U.S.

6. North American Drought of 1988

This drought remains the deadliest and costliest drought in American history, and arguably the costliest natural disaster for America overall. The drought killed between 5000 and 10,000 people, and cost $120 billion in damages if adjusted for inflation ($60 billion before adjustment). The drought affected nearly 50% of the united states, and lasted from 1988 until 1989.

7. Great Galveston Hurricane

The hurricane that killed the most people in American history is this one. It’s estimated that between 6000 and 12,000 people were killed due to this hurricane. The city of Galveston, Texas was not prepared for this hurricane or the storm surge it brought with it. The highest point of the city was 8.7 feet above sea level, and the storm surge reached over 15 feet, leading to mass destruction of everything in the city. Over 3600 homes were destroyed from the storm surge, which very few remaining in tact.

Join the discussion.