October 10, 2018 / 7:13 PM / 12 days ago

The most intense hurricanes to hit the United States

(Reuters) - Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday as the worst storm ever to hit that region and the third most intense hurricane to ever slam into the continental United States, with its minimum pressure recorded at 919 millibars (mb) on Wednesday afternoon.

Michael was a Category 4 hurricane at landfall, with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (249 km per hour).

The lower the minimum pressure, the more intense the hurricane.

Here are five of the most powerful hurricanes to make landfall in the mainland United States based on minimum pressure:

- Florida Keys Labor Day hurricane, 1935, 892 mb

The hurricane struck the Florida Keys as a Category 5, the highest ranking possible. It killed more than 200 World War One veterans who were in the Keys to build a highway. It generated wind speeds of up to 200 miles per hour (322 km per hour). After ravaging the Keys, the storm moved north off the western coast of Florida before turning inland. In all, more than 400 people died in Florida.

- Hurricane Camille, 1969, 900 mb

Camille struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a Category 5 hurricane, bringing with it devastating storm tides and strong winds that demolished buildings and destroyed orchards. More than 200 people were killed.

- Hurricane Katrina, 2005, 920 mb

The hurricane made a direct hit on New Orleans as a Category 3 storm, causing levees and flood walls to fail in dozens of places. Most of New Orleans was flooded, and some people who were stranded in their homes climbed to the roofs to await rescue. About 1,200 people died, according to the National Weather Service. Most victims were in Louisiana, but neighboring Mississippi also was hard hit. Katrina caused an estimated $108 billion in damage, making it the costliest hurricane ever to strike the United States.

- Hurricane Andrew, 1992, 922 mb

The hurricane struck South Miami-Dade County in Florida and caused an estimated $26 billion in damage. That ranked as the most expensive storm in U.S. history, until Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans and pummeled other parts of the U.S. South in 2005. More than a dozen people were directly killed by the storm in Florida, with others dying of indirect causes.

- The Indianola, Texas hurricane, 1886, 925 mb

The hurricane destroyed the Texas town of Indianola, which at the time was vying with Galveston to become the state’s main port. Several dozen people were killed in the storm, which also ended a catastrophic drought in the region.

Source: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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