The Most Intense Atlantic Hurricanes in Recorded History
This is a table of the most intense Atlantic hurricanes, measured by barometric pressure, since 1851. The data are taken from the National Hurricane Center's Best Track file for 1851-2010 storms and the advisory packages for 2010 storms if best track data are not available. In cases where pressure readings are tied, the hurricanes are ranked by their maximum observed wind speed. I should note that this maximum wind speed did not always occur at the same time as the observed minimum pressure.
Where possible, I have included a Wikipedia link to the storm in question. If there was no link for a specific storm, I included a link to the Wikipedia page for the season in which it occurred. Like other external links on this site, these links open in a new window.
|Rank||Storm Name||Year||Date1||Minimum Pressure||Maximum Winds||Maximum Category2|
|3||Labor Day Hurricane||1935||9/3||892||1853||5
|21||1910 Fort Myers Hurricane||1910||10/16||924||150||44|
|24||1886 Indianola Hurricane||1886||8/20||925||155||45|
|32||Lake Okeechobee Hurricane||1928||9/16||929||160||54|
- Date that the hurricane achieved (or, if it achieved it more than once, first achieved) its low pressure reading.
- See the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale for category rankings.
- The Labor Day Hurricane's maximum wind speed is listed in a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation by Jamese Sims and David Glenn (of NOAA) as 185 mph with the NHC Best Track file proposed to be changed to reflect this. Its measured lowest pressure was 892 mb, but there was an uncalibrated and unconfirmed report of an 880 mb reading, which would possibly* make it the lowest pressure in the Atlantic basin. See the Wikipedia article on the Labor Day storm (linked in the table) for details.
* -- Hurricane Wilma's pressure reading listed here may not have been its lowest either, and it is possible that Wilma also reached ~880 mb or slightly less. If any two Atlantic hurricanes are candidates for "membership in the 870s Club," these two are the ones. Other than location, they are remarkably similar: they had tiny eyes, intensified rapidly, and set pressure records for their times.
- These hurricanes predated satellite, radar, and airplane reconaissance. The values listed may not be either the highest wind speed or the lowest pressure.
- The Indianola Hurricane may very well have been a Category 5 at landfall. In fact, I suspect it was. See p. 48 (p. 13 in the PDF copy) of A Reconstruction of Historical Tropical Cyclone Frequency in the Atlantic from Documentary and other Historical Sources, Part III: 1881-1890, year 1886, by Partagas and Diaz.