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Galveston Hurricane


LawLord
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Today is the anniversary of the Galveston hurricane of 1900, which is still the most deadly hurricane ever to strike the Western hemisphere. At least 6000, and perhaps more than 8000, people lost their lives on that terrible Saturday at the end of Victoria's reign.

Galveston was a popular tourist resort, as well as being the largest port in the American South, being the point of export for cotton, corn, tobacco, rice and other products. In September 1900 it was a crowded, buustling, vibrant city.

The problem was that the city was built on an island that rose to only 10 feet above sea level, and the shallow seas around had been dredged and deepened to allow larger ships to enter the port. The storm surge of some 25 feet completely overwhelmed the city, most of which was destroyed, hence the enormous loss of life.

The U.S. meteorologist in Galveston was aware of the approaching hurricane, anmd tried to warn the population, but communications were less efficient than now, and many were unaware of the impending disaster bearing down on them. The hurricane arived with 125 mph winds, torrential rain, and the lethal 25 foot storm surge that overwhelmed the city. It raged for 10 hours after which a curious calm and clear sky unveiled the full horror that had overcome Galveston. Though the city was rebuilt, it never again recovered its status as the premier port of the South.

The storm did have some positive outcomes; a huge sea wall wa built to protect Galveston which has stood the test of time; more money was put into research into hurricane prediction which has led to the massively sophisticted hurricane warning systems that exist today. As an example, Katrina, a storm of equal strength and impact, caused only a fraction of the loss of life of the Galveston Hurricane.

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Posted
  • Location: Rossland BC Canada
  • Location: Rossland BC Canada

    The track according to the NOAA maps ran from well east of Barbados where the storm originated on August 27th, to the Virgin Islands, south of Puerto Rico and through the length of Hispaniola and most of Cuba, all the while at tropical storm intensity, then it emerged near Havana on September 5th and quickly intensified, heading towards a landfall just west of Galveston on the late afternoon of September 8th. I reckon it was a cat-3 or low-end cat-4 hurricane at that time, about like Rita in 2005 but the track was worst-case for Galveston and sent in the killer storm surge.

    The remnants were tracked all the way through the Great Lakes and Newfoundland to a point south of Iceland on the 15th.

    Wonder if Ike will head along this same track now that it is converging on the track of the 1900 hurricane?

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    • 2 years later...
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  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

    Some photos courtesy Library of Congress and the synoptic charts NOAA Central Library.

    Carrying dead body to fire to be burned.

    3c23882v.jpg

    Carrying out bodies just removed from the wreckage

    3c23883v.jpg3c23884v.jpg3c23885v.jpg3c23886v.jpg3b04274r.jpg3c23881v.jpg

    Edited by weather ship
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