Monday, September 08, 2008

In memory of: Galveston 1900 Hurricane

On the afternoon of September 8th, 1900, at least 6000 people died in Galveston (one out of every six of the 37,000 residents) and between 10,000 and 12,000 overall died as a result of the storm and between $20 million and $40 million (in 1900 dollars, $700 million to $1.4 Billion in today's dollars) worth of damage was caused by a hurricane that came ashore on Galveston island. Storm warnings had been issued but the meteorologist in charge of the Galveston office believed that no storm surge could hurt Galveston Island so little, if any, preparation was made. In those days there was no radar, or weather satellites. The only information about storms at sea came from ships that happened to blunder into the midst of one. This was and still is the worst natural disaster in US history. Far more destructive than Katrina, or any storm before or since. The NWS meteorologist, by the name of Dr. Isaac M. Cline, learned the hard way that the most destructive part of a storm was not wind, it was water. He lost his daughter and his pregnant wife to the storm's waves. As a result of this storm, Galveston was remade. The entire island was raised 17 feet at the seawall, with a downward grade of 1 ft in 1500ft towards Galveston bay. All surviving buildings were jacked up and dredge fill from the bay was pumped in over several years time to accomplish the task. 16 million cubic yards of fill was required for the task. A seawall was built as well to protect the city. These undertakings were the brainchild of three engineers hired by the city. You might recognize the name of one of them: Alfred Nobel.


Blogger Jean said...

Good luck with Ike, Stan!


September 11, 2008 2:40 PM  

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