The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900

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The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900
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From: silichip
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Added: 15-07-2010 07:20:27
At the end of the 19th century, the city of Galveston, Texas was a booming town with a population of 42,000 residents. Its position on the natural harbor of Galveston Bay along the Gulf of Mexico made it the center of trade and the biggest city in the state of Texas. With this prosperity came a sense of complacency.A quarter of a century earlier, the nearby town of Indianola on Matagorda Bay was undergoing its own boom and was second to Galveston among Texas port cities. Then in 1875, a powerful hurricane blew through, nearly destroying the town. Indianola was rebuilt, though a second hurricane in 1886 caused residents to simply give up and move elsewhere. Many Galveston residents took the destruction of Indianola as an object lesson on the threat posed by hurricanes. Galveston was a low, flat island, little more than a large sandbar along the Gulf Coast. They proposed a seawall be constructed to protect the city, but their concerns were dismissed by the majority of the population and the city’s government.Since its formal founding in 1839, the city of Galveston had weathered numerous storms, all of which the city survived with ease. Residents believed any future storms would be no worse than previous events. In order to provide an official meteorological statement on the threat of hurricanes, Galveston Weather Bureau section director Isaac Cline wrote an 1891 article in the Galveston Daily News in which he argued not only that a seawall was not needed to protect the city, but also that it would be impossible for a hurricane of significant strength to strike the island. The seawall was not built, and development activities on the island actively increased its vulnerability to storms. Sand dunes along the shore were then cut down to fill low areas in the city, removing what little barrier there was to the Gulf of Mexico. The rest is now the worst natural disaster in US history, the great hurricane of 1900 which was a category 4 storm that killed over 18000 people.
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