I started out with the mortality data, and then added information on affected states. The story that grabs me in this data is the scale of the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. I found data on overall population of the US, so I can see the mortalities as a percentage of the total, which adds to the sense of extremity.
This is my second attempt - I've gotten the population data for the states affected by hurricanes in each year, so that I can see the ratio. But the data is so extreme that it is hard to figure out how to present it effectively. I like the extremity, I think that the difference between Galveston and Katrina is palpable in it, but I want to get the ratio presented well.