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U.S. News

Factbox: The deadliest, most costly Atlantic hurricanes

(Reuters) - The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season will be even more active than previously predicted, leading U.S. forecasters said on Wednesday. The Colorado State University team predicted 10 hurricanes, five of them major, with a 76 percent likelihood that a major hurricane would hit the U.S. coastline.

Following are some of the deadliest and most costly storms to hit the United States, the Caribbean and Central America:

* The Great Hurricane of 1780 killed at least 27,500 people when it smashed through the eastern Caribbean. The Category 4 storm is the deadliest on record. Most of the casualties were in Barbados, Martinique and Saint Lucia. No estimate of cost. It damaged British Navy ships fighting U.S. independence.

* Hurricane Mitch hit Central America in 1998, killing at least 11,374 people, mostly in flash floods and mudslides in Honduras and Nicaragua caused by heavy rainfall. The second most deadly storm on record caused $5 billion in damage.

* The Category 4 hurricane that devastated Galveston, Texas, in 1900, killed more than 8,000 people and is the deadliest storm in U.S. history.

* Hurricane Katrina that flooded New Orleans in 2005 was the most costly storm to hit the United States, causing $81 billion in damages. The Category 3 hurricane was the third deadliest in U.S. history, killing 1,500 people.

* Hurricane Andrew, a powerful Category 5 storm that smashed into Southern Florida in 1992, was the second costliest for the United States, causing $26.5 billion in damages, especially in the Miami area. The third most costly was Wilma in 2005, causing $20.6 billion in damages.

* Massive and powerful Hurricane Wilma was the most intense hurricane recorded in the Atlantic basin, and the fourth Category 5 storm of the record 2005 season. While the death toll was low, Wilma caused severe damage in the Mexican resorts of Cancun and Cozumel, and floods in Havana.

Source: National Hurricane Center

Compiled by the World Desk, Washington +1 202-898-8457

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