Biggest Tornadoes in the World

List of the biggest tornadoes in history, the level of destruction they caused, the expenses and the number of deaths…

Tornadoes – list



Tornadoes are tropical storms , which correspond to extremely violent winds , forming wind cones under certain conditions, due to rising and falling temperatures . These structures can lead to the destruction of private and public property, as well as the loss of millions of lives, depending on the intensity with which they occur.

Although they can appear in any part of the world, these are more favorable in hot areas such as the coastal area of ​​the American Southwest, where almost all used large tornadoes occur, which lead to floods and numerous losses.

The 20 biggest tornadoes:


Category 4 storm in the United States of America, where in 2017 it caused serious damage. The most affected communities were coastal communities, having severely affected the city of Houston, in particular due to the massive floods that occurred.

It destroyed both natural ecosystems and man -made buildings . About 30,000 people were left homeless, 13,000 had to be rescued and 82 people died in Texas.


After traveling through several countries (Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti), this storm , in October 2012, ended up losing intensity upon reaching the United States of America. However, its intensity was high enough to cause great destruction in New York and New Jersey.

This storm killed about 117 people in the United States, as well as 69 more in Canada and the Caribbean. Unlike normal for a tornado , this storm had more characteristics of a winter storm than a tropical storm.


Storm that hit the Gulf coast and Virginia, having been classified with category 5. It formed near the Cayman Islands, in August 1969.

This one ends up increasing its category when it gets close to the United States of America. Its intensity produced a high amount of precipitation that led to flooding in several areas of the country, which caused about 256 deaths and thousands of damages.


One of the biggest hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, whose origin was the Cape Verde Islands. This tornado reached 926 kilometers in diameter, which led to its classification as a level 5 storm , having destroyed most of the houses on the island of Jamaica.

Upon reaching the American continent this storm splits into several smaller tornadoes. Due to its passage, 318 people died, 200 of them due to floods (in Mexico).

Labor Day (1935)

Category 5 storm that ravaged the United States of America, characterized by strong winds and extreme rains that killed about 400 people, the vast majority of which were World War I veterans building a road.

This tornado appeared at a time when it was impossible to detect its occurrence, leaving people defenseless against these phenomena.


One of the most famous tornadoes of our days, due to the massive destruction it left in New Orleans, this destruction, however, can also be the result of the bad constructions that were made at the time.

This tornado received a Category 5, leading to mandatory evacuations and leaving about 80% of New Orleans cities underwater.

This hurricane killed about 1833 people during its occurrence, having been considered the biggest catastrophe that occurred in the USA.


This was the second tornado in 2017 to reach a Category 5, making it one of the most devastating hurricanes, eventually decreasing to a Category 4.

Its passage led to the deaths of 2975 people in Puerto Rico, where it caused most of the damage. The destruction amounted to billions of dollars, including the loss of 90% of the city’s electricity.


Tornado that made landfall on the north coast of Texas in 1900, particularly in the Galveston area. It is estimated that between 8000 and 12000 people died during the storm , causing great destruction and high financial and social losses.


A tornado devastated the city of Miami in 1926, killing a total of 372 people, with financial costs that amounted to US$ 105 million, being considered one of the storms with the most financial damage.


Category 5 tornado, but smaller than normal. These arose in southwest Florida and headed for Louisiana where it decreased in intensity to a category 3.

During this storm there were 23 deaths, however, material damage was considerable with the destruction of 127,000 homes and costs that were around US$ 26.5 billion.


Southwest Florida/Lake Okeechobee

In 1928, a large-diameter Category 5 tornado hits southwest Florida. The main consequences of this storm were the rising of the waters that caused floods , responsible for the death by drowning of about 2500 to 3000 people.

1938 tornado

The main damage caused by this unexpected tornado was centered in the Long Island area and southern New England, leading to the death of 256 people, the destruction of 150 homes, as well as damages amounting to $306 million US dollars.


The tornado occurred in 2004, eventually being considered one of the strongest to hit the US in a decade. Along its course it joined another F1 category tornado, eventually hitting land twice and causing a total of 10 deaths and damage worth $15 billion.


This tornado surpassed many of the more well-known tornadoes in the destruction it caused. In 1998, this tornado led to a fall of rain that lasted two consecutive days, leading to flooding. The death toll reached 11,000, causing damage totaling $5 billion.

1780’s tornado

This tornado was considered the biggest tornado to hit the American continent, having been responsible for the death of 22000 people, including British and American soldiers during the second world war. This storm lasted approximately 6 days and reached the Caribbean islands, however, there are not many records.


Tornado originating on the east coast of Africa, having headed for the American continent , in 2017, where it touched land several times, one of which was characterized as an F5 tornado.

This caused about 134 deaths, thousands of homeless and damages that amounted to US$64.76 billion.


Tornado that formed over the Gulf of Mexico in 1957, slowly moving north. Upon reaching land it was characterized by a category 4 tornado, producing strong winds and constant rain . This storm resulted in about 390 deaths and costs of around $150 million US dollars.


This tornado hit the United States of America in 1954. Upon reaching land, it took on the characteristics of a Category 4 tornado near North Carolina.

In total there were more than 1000 deaths, particularly centered in Haiti, with financial costs amounting to $400,000.


The Hugo tornado occurred in 1989 and reached Category 5 upon reaching South Carolina, after 12 hours, it lost energy and was characterized as Category 4.

This tornado caused numerous floods , led to the death of about 30 people throughout different cities and caused damages that amounted to $8 billion dollars.


This hurricane occurred in 2003, reaching Category 4 and later Category 5, particularly hitting Virginia and North Carolina.

Some of the consequences of this storm were the floods that led to the death of about 17 people and damages amounting to $3 billion US dollars.