(Reuters) – The U.S. Gulf Coast braced on Sunday for what could be one of the strongest storms to hit the continental United States in years.
As of Sunday morning, the National Hurricane Center reported Hurricane Ida packed winds topping 150 miles per hour (240 km per hour), with minimum pressure recorded at 933 millibars (mb), and could gather more strength, forecasters said. (The lower the minimum pressure, the more intense the hurricane)
The following are six of the most powerful hurricanes to make landfall on 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 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. It generated wind speeds of up to 200 miles per hour (322 km per hour) and killed more than 200 World War One veterans who were in the Keys to build a highway. 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 Michael, 2018, 919 mb
In October of 2018, Michael was the third most intense hurricane to make landfall on the continent, hitting the Florida Panhandle, with its minimum pressure recorded at 919 millibars (mb). Michael was a Category 5 hurricane at landfall, with sustained winds of 160 miles per hour (257 km per hour).
-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 their roof to await rescue. About 1,800 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
Andrew 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.
(Reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Bill Berkrot)