Dear Tom,
What is the most devastating hurricane ever to hit land?
Nicole Newmann, Chicago

Dear Nicole,

The effects of drought have claimed the most lives, but hurricanes have been responsible for more deaths than any other single weather event. The Galveston (Texas) hurricane of September 8, 1900, stands as the United States’ worst storm disaster and most deadly hurricane. Winds of 120 mph and a 20-foot storm surge devastated the city of 38,000; up to ten thousand people died in the city and another 1,200 outside the area. But that disaster pales in comparison  to the world’s most deadly hurricane: The October, 1970, typhoon (which is what Indian Ocean hurricanes are called) that blasted the Bay of Bengal coast of Bangladesh with 140 mph winds and a storm surge that claimed 500,000 lives.