Before Irene: The Five Biggest Hurricanes in U.S. History

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Expected to make landfall this Saturday, August 27, in South Carolina, Hurricane Irene is the ninth major storm of 2011. Meteorologists with The Weather Channel estimate the path of Irene will be to go North and then up the Eastern seaboard. While the wind field is measured at an incredible 580 miles wide, which is larger than both Ike in 2008, and Katrina in 2005, Irene still isn't the biggest storm to ever hit the United States.

Looking into America's hurricane history on Weather Underground we find the largest tropical storm to ever pelt the nation was way back in 1900. Back before the days of naming cyclones alphabetically, this storm was aptly named The Great Galveston Hurricane. This major weather event came in from the Caribbean Ocean, into Texas via the Gulf of Mexico, and then turned to head Northeast from August 27th to September 15th. Before the storm had finally passed $30 million dollars of damage had been done, and a grand total of 12,000 people lost their lives.

Taking spot No. 2 was another storm from before the modern system of giving hurricanes names we have Major Hurricane 4 during September 6th to September 28th, 1928. This monstrous storm made landfall in Florida, worked its way up the East coast, then terminated in Canada, Just North of the Western-most section tip of New York State. While no dollar amount of damage is available, the loss of lives was 3,411.

Hurricane No. 3 hit us from August 23rd to the 31st, 2005, and could be the source of a few movies, in itself. We called it Hurricane Katrina. Even with all of our modern advances and technology, the official estimate of damage was a loss of 1,833 lives, and between the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida the damages totaled $133.8 billion dollars. One of the more peculiar aspects of this storm was how experts believed it was going to hit Florida, but then veered West to hit the City of New Orleans, Louisiana after merely glancing the tip of the Sunshine State. The storm brought massive rains, and finally subsided in Central Ohio. Besides the lives and money lost to Hurricane Katrina, some say a president's credibility was also lost, due to a slow response from F.E.M.A.

Hurricane No. 4 on our list takes us back in time to September 27th to October 5th of 1893. The name given was simply Major Hurricane 10. While dollar amounts are not known, the total number of human lives lost is believed to be 2,000. This storm also made its landfall at New Orleans, and then worked its way Northeast to terminate miles off the coast of North Carolina.

Finally, the fifth biggest hurricane in U.S. history was Major Hurricane 6. This whopper hit from August 15th to September 2nd of 1893. Its path was from the Eastern coast of Florida, through the East Coast, and finally terminating South of Greenland. While no dollar figure is available, a total of 2,500 lives were lost, and this storm was one of the very few to pass over New York City.

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