On September 8, 1900, Galveston (TX) was inundated by a 15-foot storm surge from a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 145 miles per hour. Between 6,000 and 12,000 people died in the hurricane that remains the worst weather-related disaster in U.S. history for loss of life.
Galveston at the time was a resort city that was filled with vacationers. Although warned by the US Weather Bureau to move to higher ground (Galveston was nine feet above sea level.), many guests and residents ignored the warning to their peril. Thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed as the entire area was washed over, then pounded by the waves.
When help arrived, they initially disposed of the dead by weighing the bodies down and casting them into the Gulf. When the bodies returned with the tides, huge funeral pyres burned for days. To prevent a recurrence of the disaster, the area was protected with a seawall that proved effective in the 1915 storm.
Tomorrow, From this Writer’s Pen Rita Bay