State and local officials have said there are at least 12 confirmed deaths related to the storm, which made landfall in Florida Wednesday.
Speaking at FEMA’s headquarters Thursday morning, President Joe Biden said the death toll following Ian could be “substantial.”
“This could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history,” Biden said. “The numbers are still unclear but we are hearing what may be reports of substantial loss of life.”
The U.S. has seen deadly storms before, with deaths in the thousands. These are some of them.
Galveston, Texas Hurricane of 1900
Considered the deadliest U.S. natural disaster, the Category 4 hurricane in Galveston, Texas, destroyed more than 3,600 buildings with 135 mph winds, according to the History Channel. The estimated death toll is in a range from 6,000 to 12,000. WTVT in Tampa Bay reported the Galveston hurricane made landfall on Sept.8, 1900.
It crossed over Cuba as a tropical storm, WTVT said, before emerging from the Florida Straits and intensifying to Hurricane status. The storm then continued to churn in the Gulf of Mexico before coming to Texas. There was about $21 million in damage, WTVT said, which would be equal to $641 million in 2019.
Hurricane Katrina, August 2005
Along with being one of the deadliest, Hurricane Katrina, which struck the southeastern United States and wreaked havoc on New Orleans, is also one of the costliest storms the U.S. has seen. Katrina was responsible for 1,833 fatalities, according to the National Weather Service. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and National Hurricane Center said that adjusted for the 2022 Consumer Price Index, Katrina cost $186 billion.
Cheniere Caminanda 1893
Cheniere Caminada, which was named after the place it arrived in, made landfall on a small island in Louisiana with 130 mph wind speeds, according to The Hill. It had a storm surge of close to 18 feet, destroying the small fishing community. More than 770 people were killed in the town of 1,741, The Hill reported. Even more, 2,000, died as the hurricane moved over the Mississippi Delta into southern Mississippi and Alabama.
Sea Islands Hurricane
Also in 1893, the Sea Islands Category 3 storm went through South Carolina and Georgia’s coastal regions. Impact from the hurricane was primarily felt in the Sea Islands, which according to Insider is a group of more than 100 islands near the South Carolina, Georgia and northern Florida coastlines.
National Weather Service estimates say 1,000 to 2,000 people died.
Maria devastated Puerto Rico, parts of the Virgin Islands and the island of Dominica in September 2017, according to The Weather Channel. While making its way through the area, it rapidly intensified to a Category 5 hurricane, The Weather Channel reported, because of low wind shear, a moist atmosphere and warm temperatures.
Maria’s death toll was revised to nearly 3,000 people after officials initially said only 64 people died, according to The Hill. Some Puerto Ricans didn’t get their power restored for nearly a year after the hurricane hit the island, The Hill said, which also makes it the longest blackout in U.S. history.
A memorial page on the National Weather Service’s website says more than 2,500 were killed in the Okeechobee hurricane that hit Florida in 1928, although the true number might never be known.
“Of course, the effect of the flood was devastating, and the loss of life, both human and animal, was apocalyptic,” according to the website. About $25 million in damages were recorded at the time, which the NWS noted would have been $16 billion when adjusted for population, wealth and inflation in 2002.