Hurricane Dorian: Worst storm to ever impact Bahamas

NOAA estimated damage in the United States at $1.6 billion and said another $3.4 billion in damage was done in international waters. At last report, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported the death toll was 74 in the Bahamas, with at least 282 people who were unaccounted for.

Hurricane Dorian of 2019 struck the Bahamas in early September and is forever remembered as the worst cyclone to ever strike the islands, with winds sustained of 185 mph.

The Category 5 hurricane was blamed for the deaths of 78 people in the Bahamas and the United States, with at least 282 people who were never accounted for, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The storm system began as a tropical wave off Africa but did not rapidly strengthen until it was north of the Puerto Rico in the southwest Atlantic.

The combination of warm water and low wind shear enabled the storm system to quickly reach Category 5 strength and became the strongest storm system ever east of Florida.


The hurricane spent days over the Bahamas, leading to catastrophic damage before being whisked out of the southwest Atlantic into the Canadian Maritimes.

Due to its close proximity to the coasts of several states evacuation orders were issued, and coastal residents from Florida through North Carolina experienced flooding, gusty winds and severe erosion.

The hurricane did make landfall along the U.S. coastline, but as a much weaker cyclone and was reported to be at Category 2 strength when it impacted Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

NOAA estimated damage at $1.6 billion in the U.S. and said another $3.4 billion in damage was done in international waters.

Hundreds of structures on the islands of Abaco, Grand Bahama and the surrounding Cays were swept away by a storm surge that was estimated to be upwards of 23 feet.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported that more than 10,000 homes were either damaged or destroyed, leaving thousands homeless.


Based on the storm’s wind speed, it shares a four-way tie for the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the basin.

The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, Wilma (2005) and Gilbert (1988) all had estimated winds around 185 mph during their treks.

Dorian remains the furthest north and east of all the cyclones that top the list.

The highest reported winds during any cyclone were in Hurricane Allen back in 1980.

Sustained winds are estimated to have reached 190 mph as the hurricane entered the southeast Gulf of Mexico, before weakening and making landfall in South Texas.