Ask Josh: Category 5 Hurricanes

They are the strongest hurricanes on Earth and only three have hit the U.S. in history. Do you know which ones?

The highest classification of a hurricanes intensity on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane Scale is category 5.  These storms are the most catastrophic hurricanes with winds greater than 155 mph and occur only about once every three years on average in the Atlantic basin. Only four times in the 1960, 1961, 2005 and 2007 hurricane seasons have multiple category 5 hurricanes formed. Only in 2005 have more than two category 5 storms formed and only in 2007 has more than one made landfall at Category 5 strength.

Lisa from Portsmouth, Ohio sent me an e-mail asking "how many category 5 hurricanes have hit the United States?"

In recorded history, three category 5 storms have made landfall on the U.S.  The first one was the 1935 Labor Day hurricane which struck the Florida Keys, killing more than 400 people.

There were no weather satellites back then but here's the estimated track the storm took.


The second category 5 storm to hit the U.S. was hurricane Camille in August of 1969.  It stuck near the mouth of the Mississippi River.  This storm killed 259 people.

Here's a satellite image of Camille as it entered the Gulf of Mexico.

The last cat. 5 to hit the U.S. was hurricane Andrew in August of 1992.  It struck South Florida in the early morning hours of August 24th.  This storm killed 65 people total.

Below is a satellite image of Andrew as it hit the Miami and Homestead, FL areas.

It's only a matter of time before another category 5 hits the United States.  I for one am glad we are landlocked and don't have to worry about these terrible storms!

Post your comments and keep those great questions coming!


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