How Irma compares to other historic hurricanes

WASHINGTON — Hurricane Irma began to move across the Caribbean islands on Wednesday, packing winds of 185 mph. South Florida is now bracing for possible impact.

Category 5 Hurricane Irma is the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever recorded. There have been only three hurricanes with a Category 5 to hit the U.S. in history.

In 1935, the “Labor Day” Hurricane hit the Florida Keys with maximum winds of 185 mph. There was an estimated $6 million in damage, and 408 people died. The National Hurricane Center says those who died were primarily World War I veterans working in the area.

Hurricane Camille made landfall along the Mississippi coast in 1969, with maximum winds estimated at 200 mph. As the storm passed over Virginia and West Virginia, the National Hurricane Center says “it produced a burst of 12 to 20 inch rains with local totals of up to 31 inches. Most of this rain occurred in 3 to 5 hours and caused catastrophic flash flooding.” Damage in the U.S. was estimated at $1.4 billion, and 256 people were killed.

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew hit Dade County, Florida with maximum winds of 165 mph. In addition to a 17 foot storm surge in Florida, the National Hurricane Center says Andrew produced a deadly tornado in southeastern Louisiana. Sixty-five people died in the U.S., and there was an estimated $26.5 billion in damage.

A typical scene at Long Key, Florida, USA, where wind with estimated velocity of 165 miles an hour swept the cluster of homes on September 15, 1935, destroying buildings and uprooting trees all before it leaving a trail of death in many parts of Florida. (AP Photo)
A typical scene at Long Key, Florida, USA, where wind with estimated velocity of 165 miles an hour swept the cluster of homes on September 15, 1935, destroying buildings and uprooting trees all before it leaving a trail of death in many parts of Florida. (AP Photo) (AP)
FILE - This September 1935 file photo shows the wreckage of an 11-car passenger train that was derailed by a Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys.  The Hurricane Center says no wind measurements were available from the core of this small but “vicious” hurricane, which was a Category 5 storm when it reached the Florida Keys. But a pressure measurement taken at Long Key, Fla., makes it the most intense hurricane ever to make landfall on the U.S. mainland. It was blamed for 408 deaths and caused an estimated $6 million (1935 dollars) in damage. (AP Photo, File)
FILE — This September 1935 file photo shows the wreckage of an 11-car passenger train that was derailed by a Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys. The Hurricane Center says no wind measurements were available from the core of this small but “vicious” hurricane, which was a Category 5 storm when it reached the Florida Keys. It was blamed for 408 deaths and caused an estimated $6 million (1935 dollars) in damage. (AP Photo, File) (AP/Uncredited)
The freighter silver hawk, beached at Gulfport, Miss., on August 3, 1970 by hurricane Camille, appears to be adrift on a sea of debris. The silver hawk was one of two cargo ships run aground by the 200-mile-per-hour hurricane. Both, still there almost a year later, are yielding to the blowtorch as crews dismantle them. (AP Photo/Jack Thornell)
The freighter silver hawk, beached at Gulfport, Miss., on August 3, 1970 by hurricane Camille, appears to be adrift on a sea of debris. The silver hawk was one of two cargo ships run aground by the 200-mile-per-hour hurricane. (AP Photo/Jack Thornell) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Jack Thornell)
Service station owner H.A. Torgerson moves debris in what had been the town post office, next door to his station in Waveland, Miss., Sept. 11, 1969. Hurricane Camille had devastated the area about three weeks earlier. (AP Photo/Jack Thornell)
Service station owner H.A. Torgerson moves debris in what had been the town post office, next door to his station in Waveland, Miss., Sept. 11, 1969. Hurricane Camille had devastated the area about three weeks earlier. (AP Photo/Jack Thornell) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/JACK THORNELL)
FILE - In this Aug. 24, 1992 file photo, a sailboat sits on a sidewalk at Dinner Key in Miami after it was washed ashore by Hurricane Andrew. Several days after it almost dissipated, Andrew rapidly strengthened and was a Category 4 storm at landfall in Homestead, Fla. The Hurricane Center measured a peak wind gust of 164 mph. Andrew continued into the Gulf of Mexico before reaching the central Louisiana coast as a Category 3 hurricane. Andrew was blamed for 23 deaths in the U.S. and three deaths in the Bahamas and caused an estimated $26.5 billion in damage in the United States. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File)
FILE — In this Aug. 24, 1992 file photo, a sailboat sits on a sidewalk at Dinner Key in Miami after it was washed ashore by Hurricane Andrew. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File) (AP/Terry Renna)
FILE - This Aug. 25, 1992 file photo shows the water tower, a landmark in Florida City, Fla. still standing over the ruins of the Florida coastal community that was hit by the force of Hurricane Andrew. Several days after it almost dissipated, Andrew rapidly strengthened and was a Category 4 storm at landfall in Homestead, Fla. The Hurricane Center measured a peak wind gust of 164 mph. Andrew continued into the Gulf of Mexico before reaching the central Louisiana coast as a Category 3 hurricane. Andrew was blamed for 23 deaths in the U.S. and three deaths in the Bahamas and caused an estimated $26.5 billion in damage in the United States. (AP Photo, File)
FILE — This Aug. 25, 1992 file photo shows the water tower, a landmark in Florida City, Fla. still standing over the ruins of the Florida coastal community that was hit by the force of Hurricane Andrew. (AP Photo, File) (AP/Uncredited)
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A typical scene at Long Key, Florida, USA, where wind with estimated velocity of 165 miles an hour swept the cluster of homes on September 15, 1935, destroying buildings and uprooting trees all before it leaving a trail of death in many parts of Florida. (AP Photo)
FILE - This September 1935 file photo shows the wreckage of an 11-car passenger train that was derailed by a Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys.  The Hurricane Center says no wind measurements were available from the core of this small but “vicious” hurricane, which was a Category 5 storm when it reached the Florida Keys. But a pressure measurement taken at Long Key, Fla., makes it the most intense hurricane ever to make landfall on the U.S. mainland. It was blamed for 408 deaths and caused an estimated $6 million (1935 dollars) in damage. (AP Photo, File)
The freighter silver hawk, beached at Gulfport, Miss., on August 3, 1970 by hurricane Camille, appears to be adrift on a sea of debris. The silver hawk was one of two cargo ships run aground by the 200-mile-per-hour hurricane. Both, still there almost a year later, are yielding to the blowtorch as crews dismantle them. (AP Photo/Jack Thornell)
Service station owner H.A. Torgerson moves debris in what had been the town post office, next door to his station in Waveland, Miss., Sept. 11, 1969. Hurricane Camille had devastated the area about three weeks earlier. (AP Photo/Jack Thornell)
FILE - In this Aug. 24, 1992 file photo, a sailboat sits on a sidewalk at Dinner Key in Miami after it was washed ashore by Hurricane Andrew. Several days after it almost dissipated, Andrew rapidly strengthened and was a Category 4 storm at landfall in Homestead, Fla. The Hurricane Center measured a peak wind gust of 164 mph. Andrew continued into the Gulf of Mexico before reaching the central Louisiana coast as a Category 3 hurricane. Andrew was blamed for 23 deaths in the U.S. and three deaths in the Bahamas and caused an estimated $26.5 billion in damage in the United States. (AP Photo/Terry Renna, File)
FILE - This Aug. 25, 1992 file photo shows the water tower, a landmark in Florida City, Fla. still standing over the ruins of the Florida coastal community that was hit by the force of Hurricane Andrew. Several days after it almost dissipated, Andrew rapidly strengthened and was a Category 4 storm at landfall in Homestead, Fla. The Hurricane Center measured a peak wind gust of 164 mph. Andrew continued into the Gulf of Mexico before reaching the central Louisiana coast as a Category 3 hurricane. Andrew was blamed for 23 deaths in the U.S. and three deaths in the Bahamas and caused an estimated $26.5 billion in damage in the United States. (AP Photo, File)


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