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The Great Galveston Hurricane


The 1900 Galveston hurricane, also known as the Great Galveston hurricane  of 1900 or the 1900 Storm, is the deadliest natural disaster in United States history and the third-deadliest Atlantic hurricane, only behind the Great Hurricane of 1780 and Hurricane Mitch overall.


The hurricane left between 6,000 and 12,000 fatalities in the United States; the number most cited in official reports is 8,000. Most of these deaths occurred in and near GalvestonTexas, after the storm surge inundated the coastline and the island city with 8 to 12 ft of water. In addition to the number killed, the storm destroyed about 7,000 buildings of all uses in Galveston, which included 3,636 demolished homes; every dwelling in the city suffered some degree of damage. The hurricane left approximately 10,000 people in the city homeless, out of a total population of fewer than 38,000. The disaster ended the Golden Era of Galveston, as the hurricane alarmed potential investors, who turned to Houston instead. In response to the storm, three engineers designed and oversaw plans to raise the Gulf of Mexico shoreline of Galveston Island by 17 ft and erect a 10 ml seawall.

The great storm brought flooding and severe thunderstorms to portions of the Caribbean, especially Cuba and Jamaica. It is likely that much of South Florida experienced tropical storm-force winds, though mostly minor damage occurred. Hurricane-force winds and storm surge inundated portions of southern Louisiana, though the cyclone left no significant structural damage or fatalities in the state. The hurricane brought strong winds and storm surge to a large portion of east Texas, with Galveston suffering the brunt of the impact.


The Great Galveston hurricane made landfall on September 8, 1900, near Galveston, Texas. It had estimated winds of 140 mph at landfall, making the cyclone a Category 4 storm on the modern day Saffir–Simpson scale. The hurricane caused great loss of life, with a death toll of between 6,000 and 12,000 people; the number most cited in official reports is 8,000, giving the storm the third-highest number of deaths of all Atlantic hurricanes, after the Great Hurricane of 1780 and Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The Galveston hurricane of 1900 is the deadliest natural disaster to strike the United States. This loss of life can be attributed to the fact that officials for the Weather Bureau in Galveston brushed off the reports and they did not realize the threat.

More than $34 million in damage occurred throughout the United States, with about $30 million in Galveston County, Texas, alone.If a similar storm struck in 2010, damage would total approximately $104.33 billion (2010 USD), based on normalization, a calculation that takes into account changes in inflation, wealth, and population. In comparison, the costliest United States hurricanes – Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017 – both caused about $125 billion in damage.

Farther north, the storm and its remnants continued to produce heavy rains and gusty winds, which downed telegraph wires, signs, and trees in several states. Fatalities occurred in other states, including fifteen in Ohio, six in Wisconsin, two in Illinois, two in New York, one in Massachusetts, and one in Missouri. Damage from the storm throughout the U.S. exceeded US$34 million. The remnants also brought severe impact to Canada. In Ontario, damage reached about C$1.35 million, with CAD$1 million to crops. The remnants of the hurricane caused at least 52 deaths – and possibly as many as 232 deaths – in Canada, mostly due to sunken vessels near Newfoundland and the French territory of Saint-Pierre. Throughout its path, the storm caused more than $35.4 million in damage. ($1.2 billion in 2022).

(Courtesy Wikipedia)

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