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Central Virginia’s top 5 worst hurricanes

A look back at our most impactful storms.
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 3:33 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The 2021 hurricane season is rapidly approaching and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts another season with above-average activity.

History shows that a total of just over 50 hurricanes have impacted Virginia. Let’s take a look at the five that have left the most significant mark on our state.

5. Hurricane Hazel (1954)

Hazel produced a 79 mph wind gust right here in Richmond.
Hazel produced a 79 mph wind gust right here in Richmond.(NBC12)

Hazel produced a 79 mph wind gust right here in Richmond. It is still Richmond’s highest wind gust ever measured during a tropical event. This makes Hazel the most powerful hurricane to cross Central Virginia. This quick-moving storm left Virginia with $15 million of damage & 12 deaths.

4. Hurricane Gaston (2004)

Gaston stalled over the Richmond metro and produced torrential rainfall for about 8 hours...
Gaston stalled over the Richmond metro and produced torrential rainfall for about 8 hours straight leading to unprecedented flooding across the area.(NBC12)

Gaston stalled over the Richmond metro and produced torrential rainfall for about 8 hours straight leading to unprecedented flooding across the area. The highest rainfall total recorded was from Richmond’s West End an astonishing 12.6 inches of rain. Eight people were killed as a direct result of the flooding.

3. Hurricane Agnes (1972)

Agnes is known for producing the worst river flooding the River City has ever seen.
Agnes is known for producing the worst river flooding the River City has ever seen.(Library of Virginia)

Agnes is known for producing the worst river flooding the River City has ever seen. The James River crested at an all-time high of 36.5 feet in Richmond. This record-setting crest washed out all but one of the bridges across the river. Agnes left $222 million of damage & 13 deaths in her wake.

2. Hurricane Camille (1969)

Camille is known as the deadliest natural disaster in state history.
Camille is known as the deadliest natural disaster in state history.(Nelson County Museum of History)

Camille is known as the deadliest natural disaster in state history. Over a roughly five-hour period, the storm produced rainfall totals as high as 27 inches. After the rain, deadly flash flooding & mudslides ensued. 153 people were killed in Virginia alone.

1. Hurricane Isabel (2003)

Isabel kept NBC12 on-air for a full 24 hours in order to help Central Virginians navigate the...
Isabel kept NBC12 on-air for a full 24 hours in order to help Central Virginians navigate the deadly storm.(NBC12)

Isabel kept NBC12 on-air for a full 24 hours in order to help Central Virginians navigate the deadly storm. This hurricane left more than 2 million without power, took down thousands of trees and triggered deadly flash flooding. After it was all said and done, Isabel killed 36 people & created over $1 billion in damage- making Isabel Virginia’s costliest natural disaster.

As always, you can continue to count on the NBC12 First Alert Weather Team as we begin the 2021 hurricane season.

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