Skip to main content

History's Worst Storm Surges

Tornado Science, Facts and History

The storm surge created by a hurricane can cause severe devstation and lead to many deaths. Some of the most major storm surge events in U.S. history include:

Hurricane Opal (1995) — Making landfall near Pensacola Beach Florida, the Category 4 Opal caused extensive storm surge damage from Pensacola Beach to Mexico Beach (a span of 120 miles), with a maximum storm tide of 24 feet recorded near Fort Walton Beach.

Hurricane Hugo (1989) — Hugo came ashore in South Carolina as a Category 4 and inundated the coast with 20-foot surges.

Hurricane Camille (1969) — Hurricane Camille killed 143 people on the Gulf Coast when it hit Mississippi. A storm tide of almost 25 feet occurred at Pass Christian, Mississippi.

Hurricane Audrey (1957) — Audrey created 8 to 12 foot storm surges that penetrated as far inland as 25 miles over portions of low-lying southwestern Louisiana. The surge is blamed for most of the nearly 400 deaths that the storm caused.

Galveston 1900 — More than 6,000 people died in the storm tides of 8 to 15 feet that inundated low-lying Galveston Island, Texas.

Live Science Staff
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.