The Okeechobee hurricane of 1928, also known as the San Felipe Segundo hurricane, was one of the deadliest hurricanes in the recorded history of the North Atlantic basin, and the second deadliest hurricane in the United States, only behind the 1900 Galveston hurricane. The hurricane killed an estimated 2,500 people in the United States; most of the fatalities occurred in the state of Florida, particularly in Lake Okeechobee. The storm developed off the west coast of Africa in early September. About 72 hours later, the storm strengthened and became a Category 1. Still moving westward, the system reached Category 4 intensity before striking Guadeloupe on September 12, where it brought great destruction and resulted in 1,200 deaths. Around midday on September 13, the storm strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane and peaked with sustained winds of 160 mph. About six hours later, the system made landfall in Puerto Rico where strong winds resulted in severe damage in Puerto Rico, leaving over 500,000 people or 1/3 of the entire population homeless. Heavy rainfall also led to extreme damage to vegetation and agriculture. While crossing the island and emerging into the Atlantic, the storm weakened slightly, falling to Category 4 intensity. It began crossing through the Bahamas on September 16, where it resulted in 18 fatalities. The storm made landfall near West Palm Beach, Florida, later that night, with winds of 145 mph. In the city, more than 1,711 homes were destroyed; the effects were most severe around Lake Okeechobee. The storm surge caused water to pour out of the southern edge of the lake, flooding hundreds of square miles to depths as great as 20 feet. Numerous houses and buildings were swept at least 2,500 people drowned, while damage was estimated at $25 million. Overall, the hurricane caused $100 million in damage and killed at least 4,112 people.
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