Skip navigation links

International Recovery Platform

Hurricane Mitch, 1998

Country Honduras
Location Coastal areas: Tegucigalpa, Choluteca and other areas

Brief Overview of the Disaster 
Hurricane Mitch was one of the deadliest and most powerful hurricanes on record in the Atlantic basin, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (290 km/h). The storm was the thirteenth tropical storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season. At the time, Hurricane Mitch was the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever observed in the month of October, though it has since been surpassed by Hurricane Wilma of the 2005 season. The hurricane also tied for the fourth most intense Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, but it has since dropped to seventh. Mitch formed in the western Caribbean Sea on October 22, and after drifting through extremely favorable conditions, it rapidly strengthened to peak at Category 5 status, the highest possible rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. After drifting southwestward and weakening, the hurricane hit Honduras as a minimal hurricane. It drifted through Central America, reformed in the Bay of Campeche, and ultimately struck Florida as a strong tropical storm. Due to its slow motion from October 29 to November 3, Hurricane Mitch dropped historic amounts  of rainfall in Honduras and Nicaragua, with unofficial reports of up to 75 inches (1900 mm). Deaths due to catastrophic flooding made it the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history.

Displaced Evacuees: 441,150
Dead 14,600
Missing 8,058
Injured 12,272
Housing Destroyed/Damaged Not specified
Total Damage and Losses (in USD) 3.7936 billion
Note Total Affected: 2,112,000 1.5 million people, the highest on record for any disaster in Honduras
Main Source
IRP Database
GLIDE No. TC-1998-000012-HND