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Top 3 Scariest Floods in the U.S.

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Haunting season is upon us, and in honor of Halloween we wanted to share what we consider to be the 3 scariest floods in U.S. history. Here at FloodPrice, we do not take floods lightly, and recognize their power to unleash devastation that may rival some of our most horrific nightmares.

Each year homes across the country are hit hard by severe flooding that can leave some areas looking like the set of a post-apocalyptic horror movie. Whether a property is located on the coast, near a river, or at the foot of an abandoned cemetery, (Did you see what we did there?) the risk is all too real.

Earlier this year, Reuters reported that annual damages to homes at risk of flooding could climb to $32 billion by 2051. While that’s a scary statistic in itself, even more frightening is the reality that property owners are utterly unprepared for flooding. Too many have inadequate coverage or are not accurately informed of their actual flood risk. Many unsuspecting victims think they are covered for flooding under their homeowners policy or choose to forego flood insurance coverage for one reason or another.

Let’s hope these haunting true tales encourage you to take a second look at your flood risk.

#3. The Most Intense Hurricane in U.S. History: Great Labor Day Hurricane, 1935

The lowest pressure ever recorded to make landfall in the U.S., this Category 5 hurricane hit 892 mbar (hPA) with sustained winds of 185 mph. The hurricane decimated nearly every structure between Tavernier and Marathon, and completely obliterated the town of Islamorada. As it slammed into the upper Florida Keys it generated storm surge of approximately 18 to 20 feet, that swept over the low-lying islands. The storm left 423 fatalities and $100 million dollars worth of damage in its wake.

#2. The Costliest Hurricane in U.S. History: Hurricane Katrina, 2005

Hurricane Katrina As Seen From Space (Photo by NASA)
Hurricane Katrina (photo by NASA)

The total cost of Hurricane Katrina is estimated to be $125 billion dollars. In addition to being the most costly storm, it was also the largest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in the U.S. It left most of New Orleans almost completely underwater, with some areas submerged in 20 feet of water! The final death toll reached 1,836 people, with some still missing to this day. Millions were left homeless, and the devastation caused a mass exodus from the Gulf Coast and New Orleans that represented one of the largest and most sudden relocations of people in U.S. history. Thousands who once called the area home have never returned.

#1 The Deadliest Hurricane in U.S. History: The Great Galveston Hurricane, 1900

Galveston Hurricane aftermath in 1900
The Aftermath of the Great Galveston Hurricane in 1900

Predating the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, The Great Galveston Hurricane is presumed to have been a category 4 storm and is considered to be the Unites States’ most deadly natural disaster in United States deadliest natural disaster. The storm was spotted on September 4,1900 as it moved towards Cuba, but poor communication and the absence of advanced warning systems meant that very few people had evacuated from Galveston before the storm hit the island and collapsed bridges to the mainland.

The estimated number of casualties range between 8,000 and 10,000 people. Survivors wrote that the wind sounded “like a thousand little devils shrieking and whistling,” and told of how the dead littered shores and city streets.

After laying waste to Galveston, the unrelenting storm raged through other parts of Texas, then moved on to Oklahoma and Kansas before turning to the Great Lakes, and Canada, where it finally disappeared into the North Atlantic on September 12th. Many thought the island would never recover due to the extensive damage and advised the residents to abandon it. But, the citizens persevered, and rebuilt the city stronger than before. In 1902 building commenced on The Galveston Seawall. At over 10 miles long and 17 feet high it was constructed to protect the vulnerable island from future storms and flooding.

The storms on this list serve as a haunting reminder of the devastation that flooding can bring.

Is your home at risk? Make sure you have an evacuation plan, an emergency supply kit and know if you’re in or near a flood zone. If these tales haven’t got you spooked about floods, we’re not sure what will!

In the aftermath of a serious flood, severe damage to your home might just be the least of your problems. While we may not be able to prevent a catastrophic flood, we hope we can help you get back on your feet when the waters recede. If you’re at all worried about your home’s flood risk, get a quote today with our online quoting tool. It’s quick, easy, and obligation free! The peril of flood may be scary, but shopping for flood insurance shouldn’t be.



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