According to a seasonal outlook released by The Weather Company in late June, Americans can expect a below-average number of tropical cyclones this hurricane season. The updated report predicts 11 named storms and four hurricanes this season, including two major storms of Category 3 or higher — meaning sustained wind speeds of at least 111 miles per hour.
While the nation’s meteorologists have predicted a relatively uneventful hurricane season, the frequency of tropical cyclones is rarely an indication of how intense those storms may be when making landfall. Some of the most powerful storms — Hurricane Andrew in 1992, for example — hit during one of the slower hurricane seasons of the past several decades. The strength of a hurricane is difficult to accurately predict by the time it makes landfall, and the most intense storms on record vary heavily by decade, deadliness, and destructiveness.
To determine the most powerful hurricanes of all time, 24/7 Wall St. ranked tropical cyclones based on estimated central pressure at time of landfall for all hurricanes since 1851, using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.