Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm that has devastated a multitude of Caribbean islands in its path, is now the most powerful hurricane as measured by wind speed to form in the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Weather Service.
Irma and its record-breaking 180 mph winds are headed toward Miami, according to the National Hurricane Center’s advisory at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
The storm could also reach Georgia and the Carolinas.
According to the National Weather Service, Irma may potentially break the all-time sustained hurricane wind speed record of 190 mph, currently held by 1980s Hurricane Allen.
As of Thursday afternoon, Hurricane Irma has reportedly killed at least 10 people. The death toll is expected to rise.
Death toll estimate: 20,000-22,000
Cost damage estimate: unknown
The deadliest Atlantic hurricane devastated the Caribbean regions of Barbados, Martinique and Sint Eustatius in mid-October 1780.
According to the National Weather Service, the hurricane struck in the midst of the American Revolution and drowned thousands of French soldiers off the coast of Martinique.
Death toll estimate: 10,000-12,000
Cost damage estimate: $6.2 billion
As it approached Honduras as a Category 5 storm, Hurricane Mitch destroyed much of the coast and offshore islands. But according to Weather.com, the storm's heavy rainfall, flooding and mudslides caused some of the major infrastructure damage.
Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize felt the brunt of Mitch, the deadliest hurricane to hit the Western Hemisphere in more than 200 years.
The exact death toll varies between 10,000 to more than 11,000, according to various reports. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration reported Central America lost 9,000 people with another 9,000 missing.
Death toll estimate: 8,000-12,000
Cost damage estimate: $30 million
The 1900 Galveston Hurricane in Galveston, Texas, was the most deadly to hit the U.S.
It began near Cuba as a tropical storm, moved through the Gulf of Mexico and eventually reached Texas as a Category 4 hurricane on Sept. 8, 1900.
The Texas city suffered a storm surge up to 15 feet high, killing roughly 8,000 people. Some reports estimated the number killed to be as high as 12,000.
Death toll estimate: 8,000-10,000
Cost damage estimate: $1.8 billion
Hurricane Fifi, or Hurricane Orlene, is recorded as the fourth deadliest hurricane in Atlantic history.
Fifi emerged near the Caribbean Sea and devastated Honduras, Jamaica and Belize and then began to merge with another storm, Orlene, as it headed toward Mexico.
Most fatality estimates range between 8,000 and 10,000.
Death toll estimate: 2,000-8,000
Cost damage estimate: $50 million
This 1930 tropical storm affected several areas in the Atlantic basin, but left the heaviest impact on the island of Dominica and the Dominican Republic, where it made landfall in early September as a Category 4 storm.
Death toll estimates vary between 2,000 and 8,000.
Death toll estimate: 7,000-8,000
Cost damage estimate: $528 million
After emerging near the Cape Verde islands on Sept. 26, 1963 Flora reached the Caribbean islands as a Category 3 hurricane, struck Haiti as a Category 4 storm and roared over Cuba, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and other regions.
Hurricane Flora is regarded as the deadliest in the Atlantic basin since the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, killing between 7,186 and 8,000 people.
Cox Media Group