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.