Top Ten Worst Hurricanes of the 2010s

Recently, I started to wonder, what were the worst hurricanes of the last decade? I remember most of them pretty clearly. Some of them were costly, and some of them had high death tolls. Some had both. Here, we are looking at the top ten worst hurricanes of the 2010s (2010-2019).
The Top Ten
1 Hurricane Maria (2017)

Man, 2017 was a strange year for hurricanes. It was an unusually active season for them. That season reached its peak from late August to early October, with Maria striking right in the middle of that.

Its formation began on September 13th, 2017, and it was upgraded to a tropical depression on the 16th, three days after it had begun forming. That same day, it was upgraded to a tropical storm and named Maria. It intensified to a hurricane the next day as it barreled towards Puerto Rico.

On September 18th, after a few days of rapid intensification, it was classified as a Category 5 hurricane. Maria first made landfall on the island of Dominica during the early morning hours of September 19th. It continued on its way to ravage many islands in the Caribbean Sea, most notably devastating Puerto Rico.

Continuing its track, it weakened to a tropical storm on September 28th. It began a track east into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean before dissipating by October 2nd, 2017. The aftermath was huge. It killed a total of 3,059 people, with 2,975 coming from Puerto Rico. It had $90 billion (USD) in damages, making it the third costliest Atlantic hurricane in history, behind Harvey and Katrina.

Even nearly three years after Maria, Puerto Rico is still recovering from its effects. In my opinion, Hurricane Maria is the worst hurricane of the 2010s.

2 Hurricane Harvey (2017)

Harvey is the most well-known hurricane of the 2017 season, and for good reason. It was the worst hurricane the United States had seen since Katrina in 2005, tying with it for costliest, with $125 billion (USD) in damages.

Harvey formed on August 17th, 2017, and strengthened as it headed towards the Gulf of Mexico. Its path had it heading into the southeastern portion of Texas. The Category 4 storm made landfall in Texas on August 26th. It weakened as the eye moved over land, but it wasn't so much the winds that were causing problems but the rain and storm surge.

Harvey stalled over Texas for days, dumping 60 inches of rain over the state. The National Hurricane Center called it the worst tropical flooding event in the history of the United States. Eventually, Harvey moved more inland and weakened. By September 2nd, it had disbanded over Kentucky.

The end result was catastrophic flooding around southeastern Texas and 107 deaths. It was the wettest month in Houston's history, and I'm sure it was the wettest for a lot of cities in the vicinity of Harvey. Fortunately, Texas has mostly recovered, and we can hope we don't see anything like this again.

3 Hurricane Irma (2017)

There are already three hurricanes from 2017 on this list, which really says something. Irma formed around the same time Harvey was wreaking havoc on Texas. It reached its peak around September 5th, 2017, becoming a Category 5 hurricane.

It ravaged islands such as Barbuda and the Virgin Islands before making a track for the west coast of Florida. Irma began to weaken as it trekked towards Florida but was still a very strong hurricane as it made landfall. It eventually dissipated by September 14th as a subtropical storm over the inland United States.

Irma ended up killing 134 people, with 92 coming from the United States. It cost over $77.16 billion (USD) in damages, making it the fourth costliest tropical cyclone in the Atlantic. In a normal year, this would be the worst one, but 2017 was something else for hurricanes.

4 Hurricane Sandy (2012)

Sandy was a strange hurricane from the start. It formed on October 22nd, 2012, unusually late in the hurricane season. It was a Category 3 storm by the time it hammered Cuba and Haiti among other islands hit.

After that, it didn't hit where hurricanes usually go. It made its way up the east coast of the United States, eventually becoming the largest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, with a diameter of over 900 miles. It hit the northeastern United States hard, especially New York and New Jersey. It brought high winds and flooding to coastal areas. Finally disbanding by November 2nd, Sandy had killed 233 people, 157 of those from the United States.

I remember when this was all over the news, and it was really the first hurricane I truly remember happening.

5 Hurricane Michael (2018)

Michael was another powerful October hurricane that was short-lived but destructive. It formed on October 7th, 2018, around the Yucat√°n Peninsula of Mexico. It trekked north and became a tropical storm the next day. It became a hurricane on the 9th, and made it to Category 5 on the 10th.

It was barreling straight towards the Florida Panhandle. Michael was near peak intensity as it hit the Panhandle. As it moved over land, it quickly went from Category 5 to a mere extratropical cyclone. It continued to move north, bringing some rain with it until it dissipated on October 16th.

In the aftermath, it cost $25.5 billion (USD) in damages and killed 74 people, the majority coming from the United States with 59.

6 Hurricane Matthew (2016)

Matthew was the first Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic since Felix in 2007. Like most other Category 5 hurricanes, Matthew hit very hard. It formed on September 28th, 2016, around the Lesser Antilles, and strengthened very rapidly to a Category 5 by October 1st.

It made landfall in Haiti as a Category 4 storm on October 3rd and absolutely devastated it. It weakened as it clipped the east coast of the United States, with the Carolinas getting the brunt of the U.S. damage. By the time it had dissipated by October 10th, it had killed 603 people, with the majority coming from Haiti, which had 546.

The damage was estimated at about $16.47 billion (USD).

7 Hurricane Dorian (2019)

Dorian formed on August 24th, 2019, and made its track northwest. Slowly strengthening over time, it made landfall on September 1st on Grand Abaco Island as a Category 5 storm. It was the most powerful storm by wind speed to ever make landfall, tied with the Labor Day hurricane of 1935.

It slammed the Bahamas and continued its track. It started weakening off the coast of Florida and began tracking up the east coast of the United States before dissipating on September 10th, 2019. In the end, the Bahamas were hit very hard, and a total of 84 people died. It caused $5.07 billion (USD) in damages.

8 Hurricane Florence (2018)

Florence formed on August 31st, 2018, near the west coast of Africa. Slowly, it made its way across the Atlantic Ocean, becoming more powerful as it went. Nearing the Carolinas in the United States, it was a Category 4 storm.

Fortunately, it weakened fast before it reached shore, and by the time it made landfall, it was a weak Category 1 hurricane. Still, it did a lot of damage to the Carolinas. By the time it had dissipated on September 18th, it had killed 54 people, with 24 in the United States. It did $24.23 billion (USD) in total damage.

9 Hurricane Manuel (2013)

Pacific hurricanes aren't generally as well known or destructive as Atlantic hurricanes, but Manuel was an outlier. It is one of the three Pacific hurricane names retired in the 2010s, along with Odile (2014) and Patricia (2015).

Manuel formed near the southwestern part of Mexico and made its way up the coast. Manuel only reached Category 1 strength but still sacked the Mexican coast. It dissipated on September 20th, 2013. It killed 169 people and cost $4.2 billion (USD) in damages, making it the costliest Pacific hurricane on record.

10 Hurricane Irene (2011)

Irene was another short-term hurricane in the Atlantic. It formed on August 21st, 2011. It was a Category 1 storm by the time it reached the United States east coast and made landfall there. It dissipated on August 30th, 2011, in Canada.

It ended up killing 58 people and causing $14.2 billion (USD) in damages.

The Contenders
11 Hurricane Patricia (2015)
12 Hurricane Ian (2022)
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