Typhoon Haiyan: What are the strongest and most destructive tropical cyclones on record?

Typhoon Haiyan has claimed thousands of lives on The Philippines island of Leyte, and frantic efforts are under way to get food, water, and medical care to tens of thousands of survivors. The storm may be among the most powerful ever recorded. What are some of the others?

6. Hurricane Katrina, 2005

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration infrared satellite image shows the center of Hurricane Katrina, Aug. 29, 2005.

Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf coast that August, is a reminder that the destructive power of a storm is about more than the speed of its winds. Katrina was a big storm, but a Category 4 rather than a 5 when it made landfall. Sustained winds of 140 m.p.h. are nothing to sneeze at, but well below the US record (of 190 m.p.h. at landfall, for Hurricane Camille in 1969, which hit the Mississippi coast). But Katrina brought with it an enormous storm surge, and that, plus the failure of levies, was what did so much damage, not the direct effect of wind speeds.

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