I chose the Galveston hurricane of the 1900 because it is the deadliest natural disaster to hit in America. I did not know a whole lot about it and I have enjoyed digging deeper into the events that took place in Galveston.
The Galveston hurricane of the 1900 is to this day the deadliest natural disaster to happen in the Untied States. The town of Galveston, Texas is a barrier island off the Texas coast established in 1838. This town became more and more popular resulting in around 37,784 moving into the area. Unfortunately this are did have a record of tropical storms and hurricanes which was hard on the town because it was a little less then 9 feet above sea level. This resulted in the town asking for the state for money to put in breakwaters, a barrier built out in a body of water to protect a coast. The state refused so in 1878 Galveston planted cedar trees on the coastline, and filled in areas with up to 9 feet of sand to better protect them from these massive storms. By September 4th, 1900, the weather station in Galveston received it’s first notice of a hurricane coming northward from Cuba. It was classified as a tropical storm at this point. By September 8th, this tropical storm turned quickly into a category 4 hurricane. The wind speeds recorded reached up to 80mph winds with gusts of 100mph. It is still debated how fast the wind was blowing as most of the gauges flew from weather building. Many scientist believe the wind speed reached up to 120mps as there was many heavy debris such as bricks flying at a horizontal angle through the air. To make thing worse, there was a 15.7 foot storm surge that flooded the town. Due to the combination of buildings collapsing and the land flooding, around 6,000 citizens were pronounced dead mainly from drowning after being pinned under the debris.
This population was aware of flooding which they did their best to prevent. However, hurricanes were all too common for this population. Advisory’s were announced on radio for citizens to move to higher grounds but many ignored this. There was over 20 million dollars in damage, if you compare that to the value in 2009, that was around 516 million dollars. Many states did events to help raise money for the island and donated around 1.25 million dollars. It took the town of Galveston around 6 months before the last body they found.
After this tragic disaster, the community first developed a new form of municipal government. Then they set forth in putting in a sea wall along the coast line in 1904. This wall started off as 3 miles long, 17 feet above sea level, with the base as 16ft wide and 5 ft wide at the top. This sea is now currently 10 miles long but has the original width and height. Before the rebuilding process, the city decided to raise the cities level to more than 16 feet in some areas. Due to 2/3s of the houses and businesses being destroyed this effort was not as difficult as it seemed was finished in 1912. Eventually the first building codes and regulations where put into place in 1914. The wind load section made building required to resist a horizontal wind speed of 30 pounds per square foot. The roofing however has no restrictions unless there was a building that had a height of 100 feet and a width four times the height.
August 16, 1915 another hurricane follows in the previous 1900 hurricane. This one was similar as it too was a category 4 hurricane with over 100mps winds. The water from this was 3 inches higher than the 1900 hurricane. All the new efforts in preventing a horrible disaster paid off. Only 11 people died from this Hurricane. While people were safe inside the sea wall, 90 percent buildings outside the wall were demolished.
A strong thunderstorm in Louisville, Kentucky, resulted in bringing not one, not four, but eight tornados with it this past Wednesday April 13. These tornados were classified as E-1 to E-2 with 80 to 100 mph winds. Luckily, these tornados did not cause mass destruction and missed most developments. Only homes and barns where damaged but salvageable while cars were totals and trees uprooted. This did however, leave many in this area without power while poles were down
After a recent lightning storm hit India on April 14th, there has been reports of 11 dead with and over 20,000 homes/ business damaged within 529 villages. This has left many going to refuges for shelter. The storm lasted a two days with wind speeds from 35 to 45 mph and gusts up to 70 mph. This resulted in uprooted trees and powerlines. Sadly a 15-year-old boy lost his life after being struck by lightning. Today India still has a 70% chance of rain with only 6 mph winds, making it had for the country to start its rebuilding process. Intense lightning storms not unusual for this area as 60 people have lost their lives back in 2021 from a previous storm.
On April 6th a prescription fire in the Hermits Peak wilderness, New Mexico under went operations. Unfortunately due to increasing strong winds and built up dry fuel, the fire has turned wild spreading outside the initial set boundaries for the project. This is still a current fire burning 7,381 acres of land and it continues to spread east of Highway 518. Las Dispensas, Pendaries Village, San Ignacio, Las Tusas, Lone Pine Mesa, Canoncito, La Canada, Manuelitas, Lower Canyon Road in Gallinas Canyon and La Tewa, Chavez, County A3, Southwest Sapello, and Southern Tierra Monte-Canyon have all been told to evacuate as the fire is currently only 46% contained. There is currently over 520 firefighter staff working to fully contain this fire.
Sydney Australia is currently in its 3rd major flooding event after 48 hours of rain. While in attempts to move cattle to higher grounds, the flash flood resulted in having to leave two horses behind. In better news two kids where rescued from the back of a car after the parent drove in too deep. Just in the month of April the city has already received its yearly average rainfall of 1,223.8 mm. The rivers are rising by 13 meters almost daily and the nearby dam is currently spilling into the river adding to the problem. Australia hasn’t seen this kind of flooding since 1998. Shops and business are barricading their outer layer walls in preparation of the quickly rising water, while others along the river has been ordered to evacuate immediately. Looking into the weather forecast, there is high percentages of rainfall daily all next week.
Last week major flooding in Australia results in 20 casualties, two of which were swept away in the rescue. Flooding is a natural part of living in Australia but due to the increase in climate change, the floods have become more frequent and more intense. The suburbs built on the flood plain in western Sydney have now experienced their third flood in just the past two years. Out of the 19 thousand homes there are at least 2 thousand will need to be demolished and rebuilt. Wednesday, March 9th, Australia went into a national emergency and requested tens of thousands of families evacuate their homes for safety. This emergency was due to the record rainfall that occurred the previous 16 days and still presented itself by March 9th. It’s intense to think what the rest of the year will bring in regard to rainfall because by march 8th there was already 872.4mm of rain which broke the record of 815.8mm back in 1965. There is still forecast of rain even today, but luckily it has slowed up. Australia is in a flood recovery process and is now using new technological approaches for search and rescue. High tech drowns with speakers are allowing a quicker search and is cheaper then sending out whole teams.
Madagascar is being faced with tremendous flooding after heavy rain fall. To make things worse, they are currently getting additive rainfall from a cyclone that was seen in the Indian Ocean. This has left the area with with 10 deaths and over 12,000 homeless. Due to buildings residing on steep hills, there has been a landslide warning in place. Many homes have already fallen leaving several citizens trapped under this debris. While this is a tragic disaster, farmer sprits are high since they are recovering from a drought. “This rain relieves a lot of farmers. Everyone is in the fields right now to work the land,” Mosa Tovontsoa, 46, a farmer on the outskirts of Ambovombe.”, US News.