What are the strongest hurricanes to hit Louisiana since 1850?

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Based on wind speeds alone, Hurricane Laura tied the 1856 Last Island Hurricane as the strongest Category 4 storm to ever make landfall in Louisiana just about a week ago.

Hurricane Laura also tied the record for fifth strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States.

Hurricane categories are determined by wind speeds alone on the Saffir-Simpson Scale and do not account for storms’ pressures or surge potentials.

Both Hurricane Laura and the Last Island Hurricane made landfall with 150 mile per hour wind speeds in Cameron and Terrebone Parishes, respectively.

The National Hurricane Center did not start presenting a list of names for these storms until 1953. Hurricane name lists are repeated once every seven years, but certain names become retired if a storm is fatal or costly enough.

The next two strongest category 4 hurricanes to make Louisiana landfall were the 1893 Number Ten and 1915 Number Six hurricanes with 130 mile per hour wind speeds. Category 4 hurricanes’ wind speeds range from 130-156 miles per hour. These both made landfall as low-end Category 4 hurricanes but were powerful, nonetheless.

Finally, Hurricane Betsy and Hurricane Katrina hit Grand Isle and Buras, Louisiana, respectively, as strong Category 3 storms with 125 mile per hour winds. Though Hurricane Katrina’s wind speeds were not the strongest to devastate Louisiana’s coast on record, they, combined with storm surge and flooding impacts worked together to cause $81 billion in damage across the state. As a result, Hurricane Katrina earned its title of costliest hurricane to ever hit the United States.

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