August 29, 2019 / 6:07 PM / 21 days ago

Florida's most deadly and destructive hurricanes

(Reuters) - With Hurricane Dorian expected to make a direct hit on Florida’s east coast over the Labor Day holiday weekend, possibly as a devastating Category 4 storm, the state’s governor has declared a state of emergency and asked residents to stock up with at least seven days’ worth of food and water.

Following are five of the most deadly and destructive hurricanes to hit Florida in recent years, listed in chronological order.

- Hurricane Andrew, 1992

The Category 5 hurricane struck South Miami-Dade County with winds of 165 miles per hour (270 km per hour), causing an estimated $26 billion in damage. It ranked as the most expensive storm in U.S. history until Hurricane Katrina raged through New Orleans in 2005. More than a dozen people were killed as a direct effect of the storm, with numerous others dying of indirect causes.

- Hurricane Charley, 2004

Charley was an unexpectedly powerful hurricane, rapidly developing into a Category 4 storm just before making landfall at Cayo Costa. Fifteen people were directly killed by the storm and an estimated $14 billion was lost, according to the National Weather Association.

- Hurricane Wilma, 2005

The death toll of Wilma was thankfully low - five people directly - for a Category 4 storm. Even so, the bill for the hurricane’s property damage was particularly high at an estimated $20 billion. Wilma ravaged the southern part of the state, generating wind gusts of more than 100 mph (161 km per hour).

- Hurricane Irma, 2017

Irma was unique for its extensive size and slow movement, which exacerbated the storm’s damaging winds and heavy rainfall. It left 6.5 million customers without power in the state and cost an estimated $50 billion in property damage, making it one of the costliest hurricanes in U.S. history. Four people died from the storm, two directly and two indirectly.

- Hurricane Michael, 2018

Michael was the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle, according to the National Weather Service. It caused catastrophic damage from the wind and storm surge, particularly in the Panama City Beach and Mexico Beach areas. Eight direct fatalities were reported: seven in Florida and one in Georgia. In addition, 43 indirect deaths were attributed to the storm.

Reporting by Matthew Lavietes in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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