The deadliest storm in Atlantic history hit the Caribbean with 320 km/h winds

·2 min read
The deadliest storm in Atlantic history hit the Caribbean with 320 km/h winds
The deadliest storm in Atlantic history hit the Caribbean with 320 km/h winds

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


The Great Hurricane of 1780 is known by a lot of monikers, including the 1780 Disaster. The storm is still the deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record. Between Oct. 10-16, 1780, approximately 22,00 people died across the Lesser Antilles.

The official Atlantic hurricane database begins in 1851, so the exact details of the hurricane's strength are unknown.

A boat first spotted the storm in the eastern Caribbean Sea. On Oct. 9, the hurricane made landfall on Barbados, likely packing wind speeds as high as 320 km/h.

On Oct. 11, the hurricane made landfall on Saint Lucia and Martinique. The next day, the storm hit Guadeloupe. The hurricane also made landfall in the present-day Dominican Republic.

HMS Egmont
HMS Egmont

"Tropical Storm Gamma (left) and Hurricane Delta (right) on Oct. 5." Courtesy of Wikipedia

"The gale of wind which happened on the 12th Oct. was the most severe perhaps ever known. Barbados suffered amazingly, 6,500 souls perished. Tobago laid waste, Grenades, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Martinique, suffered more than any person can conceive," wrote the attorney general of Guadeloupe.

In Barbados, around 4,500 people died. Reports say that the hurricane's winds were "so deafening that people could not hear their own voices."

In Martinique, the storm produced a 7.6-metre storm surge, destroying houses and causing 9,000 deaths.

The storm caused widespread destruction in Saint Lucia, destroying most houses in Port Castries, and causing around 6,000.

The Great Hurricane of 1780 caused approximately 22,000–27,501 deaths. The second most deadly Atlantic storm is the 1998 Hurricane Mitch, which killed more than 11,374 people.

To learn more about The Great Hurricane of 1780, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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