Friday, July 16, 2010

Texas Tidbits : The Galveston Hurricane of 1900

The Date : September 8, 1900. The Place : Galveston, Texas. The Event : The Galveston Hurricane of 1900. The Result : At least 8000 (maybe as many as 12,000) dead. 6000 dead on Galveston Island alone, making this storm the deadliest natural disaster in the history of the USA. That photo up there ^^^? That's the aftermath of this horrific Act of Nature. This storm (hurricanes weren't formally given names until 1950), was, at first, predicted to move up the East Coast, but it didn't quite work that way. From Weather Events :  "Forecasters at the US Weather Bureau office in Washington DC examined the maps and, using their knowledge of past hurricane behavior, expected the storm would curve along a northeasterly track across Florida and then northward along the US east coast. The office telegraphed a forecast to New Orleans at midday on September 5 stating the storm "probably will be felt as far north as Norfolk [Virginia] by Thursday night [September 6] and is likely to extend over the middle Atlantic and South New England states by Friday.
The Galveston Hurricane, however, had other ideas. Rather than follow the more likely path which would recurve back toward the Atlantic, it continued on its west-northwest course. As it moved into the Gulf of Mexico, it gave gale force winds to Tampa on Florida's west coast, Key West, and Jupiter on Florida's east coast, assuring weather forecasters in Washington that it was moving over the state. But a region of high pressure located to the east blocked this path, and the storm turned into the Gulf and toward Galveston." But for a single High Pressure System, the history of Galveston and, perhaps, the East Coast would be very different from the way it turned out.

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