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35 devastating photographs from Miami, after the Great Miami Hurricane in 1926

David Goran
Coast Guard Cutter Washed Ashore in Bayfront Park Photo by G.W. Romer
Coast Guard Cutter Washed Ashore in Bayfront Park Photo by G.W. Romer

The 1926 Miami hurricane, commonly called the “Great Miami” hurricane, was a large and intense tropical cyclone that devastated the Greater Miami area and caused extensive damage in the Bahamas and the U.S. Gulf Coast in September 1926.

The tropical cyclone is believed to have formed in the central Atlantic Ocean on September 11. Steadily strengthening as it tracked west-northwestward, the tropical storm reached hurricane intensity the next day. As a result of scattered observations at open sea, however, no ship encountered the storm until September 15, by which time the cyclone had reached major hurricane intensity north of the Virgin Islands. Strengthening continued up until the following day, when the storm reached peak intensity with a strength equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane. This intensity was maintained as the storm tracked across the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas to landfall near Miami on September 18.

Panoramic view of Miami after the hurricane wryly titled Miami’s New Drydock September 18, 1926

Panoramic view of Miami after the hurricane wryly titled Miami’s New Drydock September 18, 1926

A boat washed ashore during the Great Miami Hurricane. This particular boat is sitting on on Bay Shore drive, and the image was taken on September 18, 1926. Source NOAA

A boat washed ashore during the Great Miami Hurricane. This particular boat is sitting on Bay Shore drive, and the image was taken on September 18, 1926. Source NOAA

Miami Beach

Wreckage and Smashed Autos at South End of Miami Beach

Biscayne Boulevard, Miami

Biscayne Boulevard, Miami

Boats Washed Ashore

Boats Washed Ashore

Capsized Ship

Capsized Ship

Coast Guard Cutter Washed Ashore in Bayfront Park Photo by G.W. Romer

Coast Guard Cutter Washed Ashore in Bayfront Park Photo by G.W. Romer

The 1926 storm was described by the U.S. Weather Bureau in Miami as “probably the most destructive hurricane ever to strike the United States.” It hit Fort Lauderdale, Dania, Hollywood, Hallandale and Miami. The death toll is estimated to be from 325 to perhaps as many as 800. No storm in previous history had done as much property damage.

Remains of a bridge at Baker's Haulover Inlet

Remains of a bridge at Baker’s Haulover Inlet

Coconut Grove House

Coconut Grove House

Damage at Miami Beach after 1926 hurricane

Damage at Miami Beach after 1926 hurricane

Damage in downtown Miami after the hurricane

Damage in downtown Miami after the hurricane