HomeTrendingOne Of The Deadliest Hurricanes In U.S. History Hits Galveston, Texas

One Of The Deadliest Hurricanes In U.S. History Hits Galveston, Texas

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Floating wreckage near Texas City, a typical scene for miles along the waterfront. (Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons)

The 1900 Galveston Hurricane

The hurricane began to lash Galveston Island in the afternoon of September 8, 1900. Wind speeds were measured at 115 miles per hour, but they eventually got so intense that they actually blew away the wind gauge, so there’s no telling at what speed they topped out. What today’s scientists would classify as a Category 4 hurricane devastated the island, but it was the storm surge that was really destructive. By three p.m. that afternoon, the entire island was covered in water as 15-foot waves soared inland and ocean spray climbed 115 feet up a lighthouse called Bolivar Point. Roofs were torn from nearly every building on the island, homes and businesses built on loose sand slid off their foundations, and more than 1,000 people took shelter at the Ursuline Convent, where many were killed when a 10-foot wall collapsed and a large portion of the building came down. The St. Mary’s Orphanage collapsed completely, killing everyone inside.

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The exact number of people killed in the 1900 Galveston hurricane will never be known, as the bodies of many victims were washed into the Gulf of Mexico and never recovered, but at least 6,000 people are estimated to have died in the calamity. Although the true number may be as high as 12,000, even conservative figures mark the Galveston hurricane as the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. 

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