Huracán de Galveston

Huracán de Galveston


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

En el pasado, los huracanes no tenían nombre y los datos sobre ellos se agrupaban en "Tormentas", escondidos en bibliotecas húmedas, polvorientas y con poca luz. Sin embargo, una tempestad se destaca como la más mortífera del país. Se han producido tormentas más costosas desde el punto de vista financiero y que han trastornado vidas, pero el huracán que arrasó Galveston, Texas, como Sherman y Atlanta, mató entre 6.000 y 8.000 personas, lo que la convierte en la más mortífera. "ciclón tropical" en la historia de Estados Unidos.Galveston, Texas, 1900La isla de Galveston se encuentra frente a la costa sureste de Texas, situada paralela al continente, creando un amortiguador entre el Golfo de México y la Bahía de Galveston. Con Houston ubicada en el flanco occidental de la bahía de 600 millas cuadradas, Galveston, la "Puerta de entrada a la bahía", se convirtió en un actor importante en el comercio marítimo de fines del siglo XIX. Mil barcos atracaron en Galveston en varias épocas del año. Los visitantes adinerados viajaron a Galveston para darse un relajante y terapéutico chapuzón en las cálidas y poco profundas aguas del Golfo de México, y según todos los informes, su población ocupaba el segundo lugar en la nación en per riqueza cápita. La vida era buena Galveston había resistido una gran tormenta 25 años antes. Se había hablado de construir un malecón después de esa tormenta, pero los detractores ganaron.8 de septiembre de 1900Con solo un equipo rudimentario disponible para el meteorólogo local del Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, Isaac Cline, la predicción era una cuestión de observar el horizonte y el barómetro para predecir el capricho de los elementos. No había ningún sistema de alerta temprana en ese momento, aunque el NWS había recibido informes de que una "tormenta tropical" se había movido a través de Cuba cuatro días antes y estaba azotando las costas de Mississippi y Louisiana hasta el 7 de septiembre. am, Cline notó que el agua del golfo se elevaba sobre las elevaciones más bajas de la isla. También aconsejó a los residentes dentro de las primeras tres cuadras de la costa que se trasladaran a un terreno más alto, pero sus advertencias fueron ignoradas en gran medida. A media tarde, las líneas de telégrafo se cortaron, lo que cerró la comunicación con el mundo exterior. Utilizando los métodos actuales para determinar la fuerza de la tormenta mediante pruebas tan calculables como la marejada ciclónica - 15 pies y medio en Galveston esa noche - los meteorólogos han concluido que los vientos alcanzaron entre 130 y 140 millas por hora, un huracán de categoría 4 (5 es el más fuerte). En la oscuridad total, la gente luchó por sus vidas. El veinte por ciento de la población murió.Las secuelasLa destrucción de los puentes y ferrocarriles de Galveston, así como sus líneas de telegragh, había aislado a la comunidad del mundo. El barco se dirigió a Houston para informar que Galveston estaba en ruinas y que se necesitaba desesperadamente ayuda de rescate.Los rescatistas de Houston y otras ciudades alrededor de la bahía se enfrentaron a una tarea abrumadora. Se dijo que las piras ardieron durante semanas, pero queda un hecho asombroso: más personas murieron en esa tormenta que los más de 300 huracanes que azotaron a Estados Unidos desde entonces.Galveston hoyResiliencia y determinación caracterizan a los sobrevivientes de esa terrible tormenta de 1900. Patrick`s Church. Hoy en día, las casas restauradas de estilo victoriano están atrayendo tarjetas para los turistas, al igual que los nuevos hoteles que se han construido a lo largo de ese malecón. El negocio del transporte marítimo regresó por un tiempo, pero el dragado del Canal de Navegación de Houston en 1909 y 1914 pasó por alto Galveston, poniendo fin a esa era colorida. Franja de cinco cuadras paralela a la bahía de Galveston, llamada "The Strand".


Consulte la escala de huracanes de Saffir-Simpson.


Huracán de Galveston de 1900

La ciudad de Galveston, Texas, destruida por el huracán de Galveston de 1900.

Imagen de la Biblioteca del Congreso.

Establecido en las décadas de 1960 y 1970, todas las unidades del Sistema de Parques Nacionales en la costa de Texas son jóvenes. De hecho, los paisajes marinos en sí mismos son geológicamente jóvenes (es decir, cubiertos por accidentes geográficos del Pleistoceno y el Holoceno). Aunque es anterior al establecimiento de los parques nacionales en Texas, el huracán que tocó tierra en Galveston, Texas, en 1900, estaba cerca de lo que hoy es Padre Island National Seashore (autorizado en 1962). Aunque el "Gran Huracán de Galveston" también ocurrió antes del establecimiento de la escala de huracanes Saffir-Simpson, esta tormenta de categoría 4 estimada todavía se considera el desastre natural más mortífero de los Estados Unidos. La velocidad sostenida del viento de la tormenta, que se registró antes de que el anemómetro volara, era de 135 kilómetros por hora (84 millas por hora), pero se habían registrado ráfagas de 161 kilómetros por hora (100 millas por hora). Más tarde, los meteorólogos estimaron que la velocidad del viento probablemente alcanzó las 140 millas por hora (225 kph) (City of Galveston 1900 Storm Committee 2010). La marejada ciclónica, estimada en 15,7 pies (4,8 m), barrió la costa antes del vórtice del huracán y provocó un aumento repentino en la profundidad del agua, inundando la mayor parte de la isla de Galveston y la ciudad de Galveston. En ese momento, la elevación más alta en la isla de Galveston era de 8,7 pies (2,7 m) (Comité de Tormentas 1900 de la ciudad de Galveston 2010).

El huracán ocurrió antes de la implementación de la asignación de nombres oficiales a las tormentas tropicales y, por lo tanto, se le conoce comúnmente con una variedad de nombres descriptivos: "Huracán de Galveston de 1900", "Gran huracán de Galveston" y, especialmente en documentos más antiguos, el "Galveston Flood". Sin embargo, para los habitantes de Galveston, incluso hoy, la referencia a “la tormenta” siempre significa el huracán que azotó Galveston el 8 de septiembre de 1900 y dejó la ciudad en ruinas (Lutz 2010).

Entre 6.000 y 8.000 personas en la ciudad murieron como resultado de la tormenta. Las bajas estimadas para toda la isla oscilan entre 10.000 y 12.000. A modo de comparación, el huracán Katrina (2005), la tormenta más mortífera de los últimos tiempos, se cobró la vida de aproximadamente 1.500 personas (Blake et al. 2007). Los daños a la propiedad causados ​​por el huracán de 1900 son difíciles de estimar según los estándares actuales, pero las cifras contemporáneas oscilan entre $ 20 millones y $ 30 millones. 2.636 casas fueron destruidas y 300 pies (91 m) de costa erosionada. Los 16 barcos anclados en el puerto en el momento de la tormenta también sufrieron daños importantes (Weems 2009).

Este huracán se había observado por primera vez el 30 de agosto en las proximidades de los 15 ° N de latitud y 63 ° W de longitud, a unas 125 millas (201 km) al noroeste de Martinica, avanzando hacia el oeste. Los habitantes de Galveston estaban al tanto de la tormenta desde el 4 de septiembre, cuando se informó que se desplazaba hacia el norte sobre Cuba. Sin embargo, desde el principio, los detalles habían sido vagos debido a las malas comunicaciones. En 1900, los barcos en el mar no tenían forma de telegrafiar las observaciones meteorológicas en tierra. Además, los habitantes de Galveston se habían acostumbrado a los “desbordamientos” ocasionales cuando el nivel del agua barría los frentes de la playa. Por lo tanto, comparativamente pocas personas habían evacuado la ciudad antes de que colapsaran los puentes de la isla de Galveston al continente (Weems 2009). Muchas personas a lo largo de la playa esperaron hasta que fue demasiado tarde para buscar refugio en grandes edificios en el centro, lejos del Golfo de México. Las casas cercanas a la playa comenzaron a caer primero. La tormenta levantó escombros de una fila de edificios y los arrojó contra la siguiente fila hasta que finalmente dos tercios de la ciudad, entonces la cuarta más grande de Texas, fueron destruidas. Las personas que intentaban abrirse camino a través del viento y el agua para refugiarse fueron golpeadas por ladrillos y madera arrojados y, a veces, decapitadas por pizarras que volaban desde los techos (Weems 2009). La gran tormenta que causó tanta destrucción en la isla de Galveston también dejó un largo rastro: desde Texas viajó a Oklahoma y Kansas, giró hacia el noreste y cruzó los Grandes Lagos y Canadá, y el 12 de septiembre pasó al norte de Halifax y desapareció en el Atlántico norte (Weems 2009).

Muchos observadores predijeron que Galveston nunca se recuperaría e instaron a que se abandonara la isla. Sin embargo, a partir del caos, los ciudadanos de Galveston reconstruyen la ciudad, haciéndola menos vulnerable a futuras tormentas e inundaciones, también reformaron la ciudad de una manera reflexiva e intencionada (Bixel y Turner 2000). Además, los ciudadanos reinventaron el gobierno de la ciudad, desarrollaron el estilo de gobierno de comisiones que ahora utilizan muchos municipios y dieron a las mujeres un papel más importante en la vida pública (Bixel y Turner 2000). Además, la tormenta provocó la construcción de un malecón de 6 millas (10 km) de largo, que desde entonces se ha ampliado. Dentro de la ciudad, la arena bombeada desde el Golfo de México elevó la pendiente hasta 17 pies (5,2 m). Este trabajo requirió el levantamiento avanzado de 2,146 edificios y muchas vías de tranvía, tomas de fuego y tuberías de agua, así como el rescate de árboles, arbustos y flores (Weems 2009).


Huracán de Galveston de 1900

Nuestros editores revisarán lo que ha enviado y determinarán si deben revisar el artículo.

Huracán de Galveston de 1900, también llamado Gran huracán de Galveston, huracán (ciclón tropical) de septiembre de 1900, uno de los desastres naturales más mortíferos en la historia de Estados Unidos, que cobró más de 8.000 vidas. Cuando la tormenta golpeó la ciudad isleña de Galveston, Texas, fue un huracán de categoría 4, la segunda designación más fuerte en la escala de huracanes Saffir-Simpson.

La tormenta se detectó por primera vez el 27 de agosto en el Atlántico tropical. El sistema aterrizó en Cuba como tormenta tropical el 3 de septiembre y avanzó en dirección oeste-noroeste. En el Golfo de México, la tormenta se intensificó rápidamente. Se advirtió a los ciudadanos a lo largo de la costa del Golfo que el huracán se acercaba; sin embargo, muchos ignoraron las advertencias. El 8 de septiembre la tormenta llegó a Galveston, que en ese momento tenía una población de aproximadamente 40.000 habitantes y se benefició económica y culturalmente de su condición de ciudad portuaria más grande de Texas. Las mareas de tormenta (marejadas ciclónicas) de 8 a 15 pies (2,5 a 4,5 metros) y los vientos de más de 130 millas (210 km) por hora fueron demasiado para la ciudad baja. Casas y negocios fueron fácilmente demolidos por el agua y el viento. Se perdieron unas 8.000 vidas, según estimaciones oficiales, pero hasta 12.000 personas pueden haber muerto como resultado de la tormenta. Desde Galveston, la tormenta se trasladó a los Grandes Lagos y Nueva Inglaterra, que experimentaron fuertes ráfagas de viento y fuertes lluvias.

Después del huracán, Galveston elevó la elevación de muchos edificios nuevos en más de 10 pies (3 metros). La ciudad también construyó un extenso malecón para actuar como un amortiguador contra futuras tormentas. A pesar de la reconstrucción, el estatus de la ciudad como el principal puerto de envío se perdió para Houston unos años después del desastre.


Huracán de Galveston - Historia

Cuando se despertaron en la mañana del 8 de septiembre de 1900, los 38,000 residentes de Galveston, Texas, no sabían que ese día sería el último de su ciudad. No tenían idea de que antes de que terminara el día, 8.000 de sus conciudadanos perecerían con la ciudad. El culpable fue un huracán. La tormenta azotó el Golfo de México con vientos de hasta 135 mph, una tormenta de categoría 4 en la terminología moderna. La tormenta impulsó una oleada de agua de quince pies antes de inundar fácilmente la isla de 8.7 pies de altura que Galveston llamaba su hogar. Juntos, el viento y el agua destruyeron todo a su paso y crearon el peor desastre natural en la historia de Estados Unidos.

Después de la tormenta
Hubo poca advertencia y ninguna defensa. Temprano en la mañana, las mareas altas inundaron algunas de las calles del interior. Sin embargo, esto no era inusual en una ciudad que apenas se elevaba sobre el nivel del mar. Empezaron a aparecer fuertes oleajes, pero el cielo mayoritariamente azul provocó la confianza de que no iba a ocurrir nada fuera de lo común. La mayoría de los residentes razonó que incluso si se avecinaba una tormenta, ya habían resistido tormentas antes. Como recordaba más tarde un familiar de una víctima: "Mamá no quería irse. Ya había pasado por eso antes y no estaba preocupada. Nunca había sido tan malo". Sin embargo, Galveston nunca había visto una tormenta como esta.

A media mañana, las nubes de lluvia se apoderaron del cielo y el viento comenzó a levantarse. A media tarde, el huracán golpeó con una intensidad que solo aumentó a medida que descendía la oscuridad. La tormenta hizo su salida durante las primeras horas de la mañana del día siguiente, la devastación total que dejó a su paso se reveló solo con el sol naciente. Los cuerpos de las víctimas de la tormenta cubrían un paisaje sembrado de escombros en el que quedaban pocos edificios en pie.

La ciudad inmediatamente comenzó la tarea de limpiar los escombros y reconstruir. Para reforzar sus defensas, la ciudad elevó sus edificios hasta 17 pies bombeando arena debajo de sus cimientos. Luego se construyó un malecón grueso y resistente a lo largo del frente al mar de la isla. Pero Galveston nunca volvió a ser el mismo que alguna vez fue el puerto más activo de Texas, con la promesa de convertirse en el "Nueva York del Sur", la tormenta convenció a los transportistas de trasladarse al norte, al puerto más seguro de Houston.

". De repente la casa se fue de sus cimientos y el agua entró hasta la cintura:"

Milton Elford era un joven que vivía en Galveston con su madre, su padre y un joven sobrino, Dwight. Milton fue el único de su familia que sobrevivió a la tormenta. Describió su experiencia en una carta a sus hermanos en Dakota del Norte. Nos unimos a su historia cuando el agua en aumento y la intensidad de la tormenta persuaden a la familia de dejar su hogar por una casa de ladrillos más resistente al otro lado de la calle:

Habíamos arreglado que si la casa mostraba signos de desintegración, yo tomaría la iniciativa y Pa vendría después, con Dwight y Ma después. De esta manera podría hacer un lugar seguro para caminar, ya que tendríamos que depender de los escombros flotantes para las balsas.

Había unos quince o dieciséis en la casa además de nosotros. Confiaban en que la casa resistiría cualquier cosa si no fuera por eso, probablemente nos hubiéramos dejado en balsas antes de que la casa se derrumbara. Todos nos reunimos en una habitación a la vez, la casa partió de sus cimientos y el agua llegó hasta la cintura, y todos hicimos un salto hacia la puerta, pero no pudimos abrirla. Luego rompimos la ventana y yo abrí el camino.

Solo había salido parcialmente cuando la casa cayó sobre nosotros. Me golpearon en la cabeza con algo y me noquearon y caí al agua primero. No sé cuánto tiempo estuve deprimido, ya que debí haber estado aturdido. Subí y agarré algunos restos al otro lado de la casa. Pude ver a un hombre en algunos restos a mi izquierda y otro a mi derecha. Volví a la puerta que no pudimos abrir. Se rompió y pude entrar parcialmente, ya que uno de los lados del techo no estaba a cuatro o cinco pies, creo, del agua. No había nada a la vista.

Regresé y pasé por el otro lado, pero nunca apareció nadie que pudiera ver. Todos debemos haber bajado al mismo tiempo, pero no puedo decir qué no subieron.

Llevando cuerpos para ser quemados
Luego comencé a salir corriendo y nadando en parte de un lote de escombros a otro. La calle estaba llena de techos y costados de casas y el aire estaba lleno de tablas voladoras. Creo que gané una cuadra sobre los escombros de esta manera y me puse al abrigo de algunos edificios, pero se estaban derrumbando rápidamente y tenía miedo de ser enterrado.

En ese momento, la parte en la que estaba empezaba calle abajo, y metí la cabeza y los hombros en una vieja caja de herramientas que estaba tirada entre los escombros en la que estaba. Apenas pude sostener esto de lado para que no me volaran, pero eso es lo que me salvó la vida de nuevo.

Cuando el agua bajó alrededor de las 3 a.m., estaba a cinco bocks de donde comencé. Mi cabeza estaba magullada y las piernas y las manos se cortaron un poco, lo cual no encontré hasta el lunes y luego apenas pude ponerme el sombrero.

. Tan pronto como hubo luz suficiente, volví a la ubicación de la casa, y no pude encontrar ni un rastro de ella ni un letrero de ninguna casa dentro de dos cuadras, donde antes apenas había un lote baldío.

Luego fui al ayuntamiento a ver al jefe de policía, a buscar ayuda para recuperar los cadáveres, pensando, supongo, que yo era el único en ese aprieto.

El bombero y otros comenzaron antes del mediodía a traer los cadáveres, los trajeron en carros cargados de una docena a la vez, los colocaron en filas para ser identificados, y al día siguiente estaban muy descompuestos, y los cargaron en botes y llevado al mar solo para lavarse en la playa. Luego comenzaron a enterrarlos dondequiera que los encontraran, pero ayer (miércoles) se ordenó quemar los cadáveres. Los hombres empezaron a retirar los escombros y a quemarlos, y cuando se encontraron con un cadáver, simplemente lo arrojaron a la pila ".

Referencias:
El relato de Milton Elford aparece en: Halstead, Murat, Galveston: the Horrors of a Stricken City (1900) Bixell, Patricia, Galveston and the 1900 Storm (2000) Larson, Erick, Isaac's Storm (1999).


¡Gracias!

Antes de la tormenta, la rica ciudad de Galveston había sido uno de los puertos más activos del país. Después de la tormenta, se cargó con alrededor de $ 20 millones en daños, que ascenderían a más de $ 700 millones en dólares de hoy. Las donaciones llegaron de los millonarios de Nueva York a raíz de la tormenta, así como de ciudadanos preocupados de Alemania y Sudáfrica. Clara Barton, la fundadora de la Cruz Roja de 78 años, llegó dos semanas después para reiniciar el orfanato y coordinar la distribución de bienes donados, especialmente préstamos para reconstruir viviendas. (Algunos esfuerzos para restaurar el orden público fueron más fortuitos TIME informó en 1938 que uno de los mayores líderes en la preservación del orden público durante la recuperación fue un rabino que patrullaba el área & # 8220 con una escopeta al hombro y una botella de whisky en el bolsillo . & # 8221)

Además de los esfuerzos para levantar espíritus y cuerpos de los escombros, esta ciudad en un banco de arena también tuvo que ser literalmente levantada para proteger el centro de la ciudad de futuras tormentas. Los ingenieros construyeron un malecón cóncavo de aproximadamente 17 pies de alto y tres millas de largo diseñado para enviar olas de regreso de donde vinieron (que ahora tiene unas 10 millas de largo). Aproximadamente 500 edificios se elevaron hasta 18 pulgadas en un esfuerzo por igualar la altura del malecón, según TODAY & # 8217s Al Roker, quien también escribió una historia del huracán, Tormenta del siglo.

La recuperación tomaría 12 años, pero demostró que fue & # 8220 la inversión & # 8221 durante un huracán de 1915 cuando solo ocho murieron, según Elizabeth Hayes Turner, coautora con Patricia Bellis Bixel de Galveston y la tormenta de 1900. Los expertos dicen, sin embargo, que el Galveston que emergió de los escombros no tenía el mismo estatus que un centro de envío que tenía durante su apogeo. Como informó TIME poco después del huracán Ike, en parte debido a la tormenta y en parte porque poco después se descubrió petróleo en Houston, Galveston nunca se recuperó realmente. Texas & # 8217 el impulso económico cambió y Galveston se convirtió en una ciudad costera. & # 8221

Otro problema que se agravó fue el hecho de que EE. UU. También estaba descubriendo su enfoque para predecir tormentas devastadoras a principios del siglo XX.

La oficina meteorológica de la ciudad, dirigida por Cline, era bastante nueva en Galveston, ya que solo se inició en 1889. Cline se haría famoso por haber argumentado que la ciudad era impermeable a tales tormentas, pero también hubo un malentendido crítico de la tormenta y # 8217s trayectoria. Como NOAA explicó en la historia del evento, & # 8220 Dado que las comunicaciones inalámbricas de barco a tierra aún no estaban disponibles, no había forma de saber cuándo y dónde golpearía el huracán & # 8221.

Además, el clima político único de 1900 y el sesgo contra los pronósticos cubanos también impidieron que los meteorólogos advirtieran adecuadamente al público. A pesar de que los cubanos habían sido pioneros en el arte y la ciencia de la predicción de huracanes, el gobierno de Estados Unidos, que había estado controlando la isla desde 1898, también trató de controlar el pronóstico del tiempo. & # 8220 Para los estadounidenses, los pronósticos cubanos parecían histéricos & # 8230 la tradición supersticiosa de un pueblo atrasado & # 8221, escribió Roker en 2015 para Historia americana revista. Para que los pronósticos parezcan menos aterrados, el director de la oficina, Willis Moore, incluso llegó a prohibir las palabras & ldquotornado, & # 8221 & ldquocyclone & # 8221 y & ldquohurricane, & # 8221 y & # 8220, prohibió la comunicación directa entre la Oficina Meteorológica de EE. UU. oficina en La Habana y la oficina en Nueva Orleans, & # 8221 requiriendo que La Habana informe directamente a Washington & mdash bloqueando así una advertencia importante del destacado meteorólogo cubano, el padre Lorenzo Gangoite, quien creía que un huracán se dirigía hacia la costa del Golfo de Texas.

Incluso ahora, a pesar de los avances tecnológicos que han mejorado las capacidades de pronóstico más de un siglo después, los meteorólogos nunca están totalmente seguros de lo que harán los huracanes una vez que toquen tierra. Aún así, generalmente se reconoce la necesidad de advertir adecuadamente a los ciudadanos, por ejemplo, el lunes por la tarde se emitieron nuevas órdenes de evacuación obligatorias para los lugares más afectados de Houston, como Dickinson.

Con Texas preparándose para más de Harvey, tal vez pueda ser un consuelo saber que el estado ha reconstruido antes, con la ayuda de ciudadanos solidarios, ingenieros creativos y mejoras tecnológicas. Incluso si las cosas nunca fueron exactamente iguales para Galveston, la ciudad persistió. Esa dedicación es algo que Texas una vez más podrá hacer un buen uso en la recuperación que está por venir.

Como explicó el jefe de FEMA Long, & ldquoLa recuperación de este evento va a durar muchos años para poder ayudar a Texas y a las personas afectadas por este evento a alcanzar una nueva normalidad & rdquo.


Expulsado: el huracán de Galveston, 1900

UBICADO EN UNA ISLA ESTRECHA que separa la Bahía de Galveston del Golfo de México, Galveston, Texas, en 1900 era un próspero puerto de 37.000 habitantes. Los residentes tenían derecho a alardear de una serie de novedades en Texas: la primera facultad de medicina del estado, las primeras luces y tranvías eléctricos y la primera biblioteca pública pertenecían a su ciudad. Su ilustre pasado parecía ser un buen augurio para su futuro, hasta que el huracán más mortífero en la historia de Estados Unidos cambió las cosas para siempre.

El miércoles 5 de septiembre de 1900, el Noticias diarias de Galveston publicó un diminuto squib de 27 palabras en su sección meteorológica: una perturbación tropical se movía sobre el oeste de Cuba y se dirigía a la costa sur de Florida. El aviso estaba fechado en "Washington, D.C.", el 4 de septiembre. Simplemente estaba firmado "Moore". Ese era Willis Moore, director de la Oficina Meteorológica de Estados Unidos.

Tres días después, sin advertencia oficial, un huracán de categoría 4 arrasó Galveston y se cobró al menos 10.000 vidas. La tormenta sin nombre sigue siendo la más mortífera en la historia de Estados Unidos.

En 1900, era difícil encontrar un seguimiento preciso de los huracanes a largo plazo. Pero el aviso de Moore era tan erróneo sobre la naturaleza de la tormenta y su dirección, que parece sugerir que tanto la meteorología como las comunicaciones internacionales permanecieron en un estado primitivo. Se podría suponer que nadie sabía nada de antemano sobre la fuerza o la trayectoria del huracán.

Pero eso está lejos de la verdad. Ya el lunes 3 de septiembre, los meteorólogos en Cuba estaban observando la tormenta. Eran quizás los mejores del mundo en evaluar y predecir las huellas de los huracanes, y sabían que la tormenta se había convertido en una inconfundiblemente violenta que se dirigía a la costa del Golfo de Texas. ¿Por qué no lo sabía la Oficina Meteorológica de EE. UU.? La sombría respuesta a esa pregunta tuvo que ver con una relación altamente problemática entre los Estados Unidos y Cuba después de la Guerra Hispanoamericana.

Los revolucionarios cubanos, asistidos por Estados Unidos, habían obtenido la independencia de España en 1898. Sin embargo, en septiembre de 1900, el gobierno de Estados Unidos todavía administraba la isla, y dentro de la Oficina Meteorológica de Estados Unidos, que tenía estaciones en el Caribe, resentimiento y desdén por los pronósticos cubanos. se había atrincherado.

La meteorología, como muchas otras ciencias en Cuba, era competencia de los sacerdotes jesuitas. El Observatorio de Belén, fundado por el padre Benito Viñes en La Habana en 1858, fue quizás el más avanzado del mundo. Una extensión de una escuela preparatoria jesuita, el observatorio se benefició de la larga tradición jesuítica de investigación, experimentación, publicación y enseñanza.

No podría haber un mejor lugar para aprender a pronosticar el mal tiempo que La Habana. Su vegetación tropical, balcones de hierro forjado y casas de estuco pintadas fueron sometidas rutinariamente a aguaceros torrenciales y vientos violentos. Un año, un huracán eliminó todo el techo de zinc del observatorio.

El padre Viñes esperaba no solo hacer avanzar la ciencia meteorológica, sino también ayudar a la humanidad. Pronto convirtió el pequeño observatorio de La Habana en el centro de una red de predicción para todo el mar Caribe. Llenó un cuaderno de tormentas con descripciones de nubes, con referencias cruzadas a lecturas de instrumentos. Anotó fragmentos de conversaciones con los capitanes de barco. Trajo informes telegráficos y recortes de periódicos.

A partir de estos datos, Viñes creó un sistema para comprender la formación de tormentas y hacer predicciones. Lo publicó todo en los periódicos para que la gente común pudiera entenderlo y responder. Pero su verdadero genio radica en interpretar el significado de las formaciones de nubes y cómo se relacionan con los huracanes: las nubes cirroestratos y su tipo plumiforme en particular.

Los cirroestratos son nubes altas y vaporosas compuestas por cristales de hielo. Proporcionan una especie de cubierta a través de la cual se puede ver una luna con un halo o de la que emana un sol brumoso. Viñes se dio cuenta de que los huracanes tienden a producir estos cirroestratos, pero solo en los bordes exteriores de un sistema. Comenzó a sospechar que esas nubes son creadas por los vientos que fluyen de un sistema de huracanes de millas de altura. Entonces, si vieras nubes cirroestratos en los trópicos, dedujo el padre Viñes, es posible que en realidad estés viendo el borde exterior más lejano de un huracán, que de otro modo no tendrías idea de que está allí. Debido a que los huracanes son tan masivos, cientos de millas de diámetro, el borde exterior más lejano puede estar a muchos días de viaje del ojo mortal de la tormenta.

Sabes que se acerca un huracán. Y todavía tienes tiempo para actuar.

Pero no todas las formas de cirroestratos señalan la proximidad de un huracán distante. Las nubes deben tener una forma plumiforme, es decir, parecen extenderse por el cielo, abanicándose hacia arriba en forma de columnas que parecen extenderse desde un punto central. Los fondos de estos alargamientos, dedujo además Viñes, apuntan directamente al ojo del huracán que los produce.

Así que ahora también sabe la dirección de donde viene el huracán.

Usando esas teorías, el padre Viñes construyó un modelo mediante el cual los meteorólogos podían determinar con precisión que se había formado un huracán, calcular aproximadamente qué tan lejos estaba, medir qué tan rápido se movía e incluso seguir de cerca su trayectoria. Pronto tuvo una red telegráfica de observadores de tormentas trabajando en todo el Caribe, integrando informes de todo tipo de gobierno colonial e independiente: español, británico, francés, danés, holandés, dominicano, venezolano y estadounidense. Everything about Caribbean weather went through Father Viñes in Havana and traveled through telegraph weather networks in which the United States also participated.

AT THE U.S. WEATHER BUREAU in Washington, D.C., director Willis Moore made squelching Cuban forecasting one of the most important reforms he brought to the office. The bureau had been established as part of the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps in 1870 when Moore took it over in 1895, he was determined to make it a model of efficiency. Perhaps most important, he tightened the rules concerning local forecasting—especially regarding storm warnings. Moore believed local weathermen had been over-warning the public. There was a tendency to sow panic. It created an unhappy impression that the bureau was not fully in control. From now on, all storm warnings would come from Moore at his hub in Washington. The local weathermen would cable regular temperature, atmosphere and wind condition reports to the central office, where clerks aggregated the morning data into a national weather map, which was then telegraphed back to each station. It was for Washington, not for local weathermen, to determine what was going on locally.

And for fear of panicking local populations, Moore banned certain words from all official weather reports: “Tornado.” And “cyclone.” And “hurricane.”

Moore also assigned Colonel Henry Harrison Chase Dunwoody, an officer in the old Signal Corps, to the bureau’s Caribbean weather station. Colonel Dunwoody had made his name by scoffing at the value of meteorological science in making predictions, especially when it came to hurricanes. The source, progress and ultimate course of a hurricane might as well be, according to Dunwoody, “a matter of divination.” To the Americans, Cuban forecasts seemed hysterical, despite their extraordinary history of accuracy. The superstitious lore of a backward people, the bureau believed, lacked the Yankee grit and know-how that was making America a great leader on the world stage.

So Moore and Dunwoody appointed one of their own to assert a big, strong, guiding American presence in Cuban forecasting: William B. Stockman, a veteran of the bureau going back to the Signal Corps days. Stockman set up shop in Havana and took charge of all the U.S. weather stations in the region. In one of his early reports, Stockman simply eradicated the entire history of the Cuban weather networks. He told Moore that Cubans had never heard of forecasting. The locals were “very very conservative,” Stockman reported, “and forecasting the approach of storms…was a most radical change.” It was especially important, Stockman advised, that the bureau not be guilty of causing “unnecessary alarm among the natives.”

And there was yet another problem with the Cuban weathermen. The Havana observatory, Stockman claimed, had been secretly piggybacking on U.S. reports. Agents in the bureau’s New Orleans station nabbed copies of the daily weather maps coming out of Washington, then sent the U.S. maps by undersea telegraph to Havana. Such shifty shenanigans allowed the Cubans, as Dunwoody put it, “to compete with this service.”

In other words, the Cubans never got things right, but when they did, it was because they stole U.S. data. Having pinched good reports, the Cuban forecasters whipped a silly, uneducated, overemotional population into frenzy with overblown warnings of monster storms.

IN LATE AUGUST 1900, Moore decided to deal once and for all with the Cuban annoyances. Hurricane season was well underway. This was the perfect time, Moore calculated, to shut down all communication between Cuban weathermen and the people of the United States. It would take some string pulling. Fortunately for Moore, the U.S. War Department controlled all of Cuba’s government-owned telegraph lines. Those were the same lines over which Father Viñes had established his fabled hurricane-warning system for the entire region. The War Department responded quickly to the Weather Bureau’s request to formally ban from those lines all messages referring to weather.

But Moore went further and banned direct communication between the U.S. Weather Bureau’s office in Havana and the office in New Orleans. Havana would report directly to Washington, and Washington would decide what information to give New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast.

Moore even reached out to Western Union, the commercial telegraph company. He couldn’t demand that Western Union censor private weather-related messages, but he could ask the company to manage what a later age would call bandwidth. He requested first priority for U.S. Weather Bureau transmissions. Next would come any non-weather-related messages. Cuban weather mes-sages were to get the lowest priority. Western Union showed a patriotic willingness to cooperate. Any private telegrams from Cuba to the United States regarding weather would be slowed, bumped or, Moore hoped, discarded. His blackout of Cuba was almost total.

On Monday, September 3, Father Lorenzo Gangoite, who had succeeded Father Viñes in Havana, observed a new storm. He saw that it was changing fast, twirling on its own axis as it zoomed across the spinning Earth—yet it hadn’t formed that perfect, and perfectly deadly, spiral that we associate with a hurricane. There wasn’t yet an eye of low pressure at the system’s center. Its winds, while hard and rough, still did not reach above 60 mph.

The storm nevertheless already had the power to knock down buildings and wash away train tracks on Cuba and other islands. Late Wednesday night, September 5, Father Gangoite observed a big halo around the moon. The halo did not dissipate. At dawn, the sky turned red—deep red—and “cirrus clouds,” Gangoite said later, “were moving from the west by north and northwest by north, with a focus on those same points.” To him that meant the storm had transformed drastically: It had gained intensity it had gained structure and prevailing winds were pushing it northwest. Following Father Viñes’ model, Father Gangoite thought he could tell exactly where the storm was going: the Texas Gulf Coast.

There was nothing Father Gangoite could do. Willis Moore had blocked the forecast. But he couldn’t stop the hurricane.

AT 6 A.M. THURSDAY, September 6, the people of Galveston, Texas, were looking forward to the weekend and hoping for relief from the heat. Everything certainly looked fine—if still and humid—when Isaac Cline, the Weather Bureau’s chief Galveston observer, took the morning readings from the top of the five-story Levy Building downtown. Barometric pressure within the normal range. Light winds. Temperature already 80 degrees—hot, but slightly cooler than it had been. The huge sky over the Levy Building and out to the calm Gulf was as clear and blue as could be.

At 8 a.m. the bureau confirmed the prediction it had telegraphed to Galveston the day before regarding a disturbance coming out of Cuba. “Not a hurricane,” Moore called it. (Evidently, you could use the word as long as you put “not” in front of it.) The course of this non-hurricane would not affect Galveston. The storm would instead go into a classic “recurve.” According to the bureau, storms exiting the Caribbean on a northerly trajectory could not continue on a northwestern track. A storm thundering out of Cuba over the Florida Straits must turn toward Florida, where it would sweep across the peninsula. Broken coastline on the Florida side of the Gulf would prevent the storm from hitting any landmass head-on, and it would lose what little power it had. The system, said the bureau, was “attended only by heavy rains and winds of moderate force” that could damage moored ships and shoreline property along the Florida coast. The storm would then move northeast, weakening as it went, and probably would “be felt as far northward as Norfolk by Thursday night and is likely to extend over the middle Atlantic and South New England states by Friday.” After that, the storm was expected to exit into the Atlantic somewhere in or above New England.

Weather stations at New Orleans and points east were authorized to hang the red-and-black storm-warning flags, letting ship captains know of moderately disturbed seas. But any residual action in the Gulf would quickly dissipate. And no warnings were in order west of New Orleans. Some fishermen on the New Jersey shore, having received the national report, cabled Moore for advice. Never one to hesitate, Moore cabled right back. “Not safe to leave nets in after tonight,” he warned them. A rough storm was headed their way, Moore was certain.

Moore was correct in believing that many hurricanes do “recurve.” But there also happened to be, at that moment in September 1900, a big zone of high pressure bordering the Florida Keys—that string of narrow islands curving from the tip of the state’s long peninsula—well to the east of the storm. This high-pressure zone caused an exception to the rule of hurricane recurve that Willis Moore thought was immutable. A recurve would have drawn the hurricane east toward Florida, but high pressure at the Keys pushed it away. Winds blowing from east to west off the Keys added to the pushback.

Drawing new energy constantly from the hot sea below, pulling those waves high upward, throwing wind in every direction as it circled, unleashing monstrous thunderclaps and streaks of jagged lightning and pouring hard rain, this complex of storms was also drawn west-northwest by low pressure there. Spinning counterclockwise, it had become a fully organized system of destruction turning around a large, roughly circular eye, some 30 miles in diameter.

At 1:59 p.m. Cline received a telegraphed report from Washington. The storm that had drenched Cuba was now, as expected, centered over southern Florida. That evening, in Galveston, Cline took the last readings for the day. It was hotter now—just over 90 degrees. The wind was out of the north. The barometer was down—but just barely. There were scattered clouds. Cline reported all of that to Washington and went home to bed.

Friday morning, September 7, everything stopped making sense. The Weather Bureau abruptly reversed its forecast, and Cline was ordered to raise the storm-warning flag. What Cline didn’t know was this: The weathermen in Washington had been getting surprising reports from local stations on the East Coast. The stormy weather predicted there had entirely failed to arrive. The winds that battered Key West did not start blowing in central Florida after all. Savannah and Charleston were not being drenched. Those fishermen in Long Branch, N.J., worrying about their nets had nothing to fear. There was only one conclusion. The men in Washington finally drew it. The storm that had left Cuba on Wednesday must still be in the Gulf of Mexico.

In Galveston Friday afternoon, a heavy swell formed southeast of the long Gulf beach. And it arrived with an ominous roar. The clouds, meanwhile, were coming from the northeast. Obviously, a severe storm was on the way. Thanks to the storm-warning flag, as well as to the crashing surf on the beach, the Weather Bureau office on the third floor of the Levy Building had become a scene of constantly ringing phones and people crowding in with questions. Ship captains, the harbormaster, businessmen and concerned citizens, official and civilian alike, wanted answers. While officials in Washington had recognized they were wrong about the storm’s track, on one point Moore remained insistent: This couldn’t be a hurricane.

All day Isaac Cline and his brother, Joseph, tried to fend off confusion and worry. They took turns dealing with the phones and the crowds and collecting weather data on the roof. The clouds had thickened. The day that had started clear was now cloudy. From out in the Gulf, the swells kept coming. By Friday night, rain had started falling steadily and Joseph Cline had a sense of impending disaster. He’d received reports from New Orleans, the weather station nearest to the center of the storm. It was southwest of the city and moving west.

Joseph knew that meant it was heading straight for Galveston.

About midnight, Joseph quickly created a new weather map based on the reports he was receiving by cable. He took the map to the post office to await the first train over the railroad bridge from Galveston Island to the Texas mainland. Then he went home to the house he shared with Isaac about three blocks from the beach and tried to sleep. Visions of hurricanes kept invading his dreams.

At 4 a.m. Saturday, September 8, he awoke with a start. He had a sudden, clear impression that Gulf water had flowed all the way into the yard. Joseph got up. From a south window, he peered down.

It wasn’t a dream. The yard really was under water. The Gulf was in town.

EPILOGUE: Defying the ban on local storm warnings, Isaac Cline sprang into action, urging beach residents and business owners to head for higher ground. But the highest point in Galveston was 8.7 feet above sea level, and the island was about to be engulfed by a 15-foot storm surge. At 3:30 Saturday afternoon, the Clines sent a cable to Moore in Washington. “Gulf rising rapidly,” it read. “Half the city now under water.”

Fifty people sought refuge in Cline’s stout brick house, which was knocked off its foundation Saturday night. All but 18, Cline wrote later, “were hurled into eternity,” among them his wife, Clara, pregnant with the couple’s fourth child. (The Clines’ three other daughters survived.) Across Galveston, the devastation was unimaginable: an estimated 6,000 dead in the city and another 4,000 to 6,000 on Galveston Island and the adjacent mainland. Property damage at the time was estimated to be $30 million in today’s dollars, that’s more than $700 million.

Willis Moore suffered no professional consequences for his decisions. On September 28, 1900, he commended the Clines and their assistant, John Blagden, for “heroic devotion to duty. . . .Through [your] efficient service…in the dissemination of warnings, thousands of people were enabled to move…and were thus saved.” The Weather Bureau slowly adopted hurricane-forecasting techniques in the coming years (though tornado warnings were officially banned until 1938). Moore was fired from the Weather Bureau in 1913 after charges of improper conduct in his campaign to secure a Cabinet post were referred to the Justice Department.

From the forthcoming book The Storm of the Century: Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America’s Deadliest Disaster, the Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900, por Al Roker. © 2015 by Al Roker. To be published August 11, 2015, by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.


'Your Heart Skips A Beat' Ahead Of Storms Like Harvey, Galveston Mayor Says

'Your Heart Skips A Beat' Ahead Of Storms Like Harvey, Galveston Mayor Says

"The water was comin' so fast. The wagon gettin' so it was floatin'. The poor mules swimmin' that was pullin'. And the men laid flat on their stomach, holdin' the little children."

Survivors wrote of wind that sounded "like a thousand little devils shrieking and whistling," of 6-foot waves coming down Broadway Avenue, of a grand piano riding the crest of one, of slate shingles turned into whirling saw blades, and of streetcar tracks becoming waterborne battering rams that tore apart houses.

"The animals tried to swim to safety and the frightened squawking chickens were roosting everywhere they could get above the water," Pauls remembered. "People from homes already demolished were beginning to drift into our house, which still stood starkly against the increasing fury of the wind and water."

A large part of the city of Galveston was reduced to rubble. AP ocultar leyenda

A large part of the city of Galveston was reduced to rubble.

At the height of the storm, John W. Harris remembered two dozen terrified people climbing in through the windows of their home on Tremont Street. His mother prepared for rising floodwaters by lashing her children together.

"Mother had a trunk strap around each one of us to hold onto us as long as she could," he recalled.

Rosenberg School, built of brick, became a refuge for Annie McCullough's family and many others.

Nacional


Pier 21 Theater

Pier 21 Theater is located at 21st Street and Harborside Drive on the 2nd floor, above Willie G’s. The entrance is located on the south-east corner of building. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before showtime. No late seating is allowed. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for students, ages 6 to 18, and free for children under 6.

THE GREAT STORM

Shown on the hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Great Storm, the story of the 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston Island on Sept. 8, has been digitally restored from its 35MM slide presentation to an advanced wide-screen, high definition format. This documentary shares the personal stories of survivors and the recovery of Galveston following the deadliest natural disaster in United States history. This new HD version shows incredible detail and clarity in the black and white photos taken after the disaster and used in the documentary.

The new digitally projected show coupled with a new state-of-the-art sound system brings visitors even closer to the story. “Using today’s imaging technology we were able to remove large scratches, tears and focus issues in the photography which wasn’t possible 18 years ago,” says Producer Richard Hoggatt of Houston’s Stage Directions Production Company. “The result with digital projection is an incredible clarity in these old images.”

THE PIRATE ISLAND OF JEAN LAFFITE

Shown on the half-hour from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Pirate or patriot? Smuggler or businessman? Merciless murderer and thief, or hero in time of war? These are the contradictions of the legendary Jean Laffite. His harsh actions have secured his place in infamy, but his motives remain a mystery to this day.

Whatever his reasons, the mere mention of Laffite in the early decades of the 1800s sent merchant ships throughout the Gulf of Mexico racing for safe harbor. During the last three years of his marauding campaign, Laffite made Galveston Island his base of operations. As for the treasure he is said to have buried there, none has been found . . . todavía.

The Pirate Island of Jean Laffite, directed by C. Grant Mitchell, is an exciting chronicle of the adventures of the pirate who called Galveston home and seeks to explore the questions of his character.


Upper Texas Coast Tropical Cyclones in the 1940s

HURRICANE (Cat. 4 - October 4th landfall)
A hurricane which formed in the Pacific off the Mexican coast crossed into the Gulf and struck Freeport with 135 mph winds (90 mph at Houston), 11.0' storm surge, and central pressure of 28.88". Two persons died in Freeport. Other tides included 10.5 feet at Greens Bayou and 8.0 feet at Matagorda. Total damage was $6.7 million. This storm was at Category 4 status

* - Hurrtrak data indicated Category 4 status NHC/TPC documents has a peak at Category 2 status.

HURRICANE (Cat. 1 - August 24th landfall)
A hurricane made landfall near Galveston Bay with maximum winds of 80 mph, barometer of 29.30", and a 3.6' tide at Sabine Pass. At least one death was reported.

TROPICAL STORM (June 16th landfall)
A tropical storm passed inland near the TX-LA border.

HURRICANE (Cat. 4* - August 27th landfall)
This hurricane formed in the southwest Gulf on 8/24 and moved toward the Texas coast. During the night of the 25th, the hurricane made landfall near Matagorda with 130 mph winds, a 15' storm surge, and a barometer of 28.57". Three persons died as a result of the storm, including one boy in Corpus Christi who was electrocuted by a fallen power line. Twenty-five persons were injured.

* - Hurrtrak data indicated a Category 4 status NHC/TPC documents had peak at a Category 2.

Statistics:
Winds (mph): 135 at Collegeport 100 at Bay City.
Pressure (inches): 28.60 at Port O'Connor 28.75 at Collegeport.
Tides (feet): 9.6 at Matagorda 8.0 at Port O'Connor.

HURRICANE (Cat. 1* - July 27th landfall)
This hurricane moved inland over Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston Bay. Houston had a wind gust to 132 mph, Texas City recorded a gust of 104 mph, and Beaumont recorded 17.76" of rain. Nineteen persons died. Damage totaled $17 million. More information on this "surprise" hurricane can be found in this NOAA History story Major Southeast Texas Weather Events Page-->.

* - Hurrtrak data indicated a Category 1 status NHC/TPC documents had peak at a Category 2.

HURRICANE (Cat. 1 - August 21st landfall)
This hurricane hit near Galveston with maximum winds at landfall at 72 mph, barometer at 29.35", and a storm tide of 7' at High Island.

HURRICANE (Cat. 1* - August 30th landfall)
This hurricane formed near Grand Cayman Island on 8/26 and moved toward the Texas coast. On the morning of the 29th in Corpus Christi, 7,000 people on North Beach were evacuated. Heavy rains fell, and winds gusted during the day, blowing at 42 mph by 11:30 PM. At 2:30 AM on the 30th, the storm made landfall on Matagorda Bay with 110 mph winds, a 14.7' storm surge, and a central pressure of 28.10 inches. Storm winds and some property damage was occurred as far west as San Antonio. The hurricane killed eight persons.

* - This hurricane was a Category 3 well offshore, but weakened to a Category 1 by landfall.

Statistics:
Pressure (inches): 28.21 at Coast Guard in Port O'Connor 28.80 inches at Palacios.
Tides (feet): 13.8 at Port O'Connor.

TROPICAL STORM (September 15th landfall)
This tropical storm made landfall west of Sabine Pass near Beaumont. Peak winds were 40 mph, and the lowest pressure was 1003 mb.

HURRICANE (Cat. 1* - September 23rd landfall)
This hurricane made landfall near Freeport with an estimated 110 mph winds, tides of 10.6', and a barometer of 28.31 inches. Extremely high tides were reported along the entire coast from Matagorda to Galveston. Four lives were lost, and property damage was estimated at $6.5 million. This hurricane reached Category 3 status at its peak while well offshore.

* - This hurricane was a Category 3 well offshore, but weakened to a Category 1 by landfall.

Statistics:
Winds (mph): 83 at Texas City 75 at Houston.
Pressure (inches): 28.66 at Houston.
Tides (feet): 11 at Matagorda 9.9 at Sargent.

HURRICANE (Cat. 2 - August 7th landfall)
This system formed off the Georgia coast them moved southwest across FL and into the Gulf of Mexico. Five days later, the strengthened system made landfall as a hurricane near Beaumont with 91 mph winds, a pressure of 28.87 inches, and a surge of 21.1'. Maximum winds recorded at Galveston were 46 mph. The hurricane caused at least 1 death and 9 injuries. Total damage was $1.75 million.

TROPICAL STORM (September 23rd landfall)
This tropical storm moved toward the Lower TX coast then curved sharply to the northeast. The storm moved parallel to the upper coast and just offshore until making landfall in Western LA. Rainfall was widespread but not excessive along the entire TX coast.


More Than a Century Later, This Texas Hurricane Remains America’s Deadliest Natural Disaster

By the time meteorologist Isaac Cline warned his fellow citizens, it was too late.

Contenido relacionado

On this day in 1900, a hurricane made landfall in the island city of Galveston, Texas. Galveston was a rich port city, but it was less than 10 feet above sea level, and it wasn’t prepared for a hurricane. In fact, Cline, who was the city’s connection to the national weather services, had publicly stated that a hurricane would never make landfall in Galveston as part of a campaign against building a seawall to protect the city. Sadly, according to the federal government, at leastو,000 people were killed in the natural disaster, which remains the deadliest in American history.

“Now rated a Category 4 tropical storm on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, the Great Galveston Hurricane occurred at a time when tropical storms weren’t named and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) did not yet exist,” writes Steve Melito for On This Day in Engineering History. But the United States Weather Services Bureau, which was established in the 1800s, maintained a local office where Cline worked.

The meteorologist, who also lived in Galveston with his wife and three daughters, was the city’s only frontline weather advisor. “Galvestonians had been aware of the storm since September 4, when it was reported moving northward over Cuba,” writes the Texas State Historical Association. “From the first, however, details had been sketchy because of poor communications.” The local residents had few incoming reports of the storm, as ships out at sea had no ability to communicate with the land and telegraph lines elsewhere were downed by the storm.

Because of the lack of communication, the historical association writes, the city’s 38,000 inhabitants were unaware the hurricane was heading for Galveston. Rain and wind were the only warnings. “Not even an encroaching tide disturbed them greatly,” the association writes. “Galvestonians had become used to occasional ‘overflows’ when high water swept beachfronts. Houses and stores were elevated as a safeguard.”

Cline, however, thought a hurricane was coming. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on the morning of September 8, “Cline said he harnessed his horse to a cart, drove to the beach, and warned everyone of the impending danger from the storm–advising them to get to higher ground immediately.”

But his warnings had little effect on either Galveston locals or the tourists who flocked to the island’s miles of beaches in the warm months, writes History.com. Given that the island was completely overwhelmed by the hurricane, likely the only safe answer would have been to evacuate everyone via the bridges that connected Galveston to the mainland. Some people did take this route, the historical association writes, but not enough.

“Houses near the beach began falling first,” the historical association writes. “The storm lifted debris from one row of buildings and hurled it against the next row until eventually two-thirds of the city, then the fourth largest in Texas, had been destroyed.” Cline and his brother Joseph Cline kept sending reports to the national weather offices until the telegraph lines went down, NOAA writes. & # 160

A massive wave, caused by the hurricane, buried the city under 15 feet of water, which receded, leaving ruins and a death toll of more than 8,000 people, according to NOAA. Among the dead was Cline’s wife, although his three daughters survived the storm. Images from Galveston’s public library show the destruction that came in the storm’s wake and the grisly task of retrieving and laying to rest thousands of bodies.

“Although Galveston was rebuilt, it never reestablished itself as the major port of call it once was,” NOAA writes. “The city was soon overshadowed by Houston, some miles inland and connected to the Gulf of Mexico by a canal.”

Sobre Kat Eschner

Kat Eschner es una periodista independiente de ciencia y cultura que vive en Toronto.


How Galveston Survived The Deadliest Hurricane in American History

The citizens of Galveston, Texas, had achieved unprecedented economic prosperity. The city, built on a shallow, sandy island 2 miles (1.2 kilometers) offshore, had become the state’s leading center of trade, exporting some 1.7 million bales of cotton annually. At the turn of the century, the city stood in the doorway to an even more prosperous future.

This all changed September 8, 1900, when an unusually high tide and long, rolling sea swells gave way to a massive landfalling hurricane. During the night, the storm destroyed some 3,600 buildings and killed at least 6,000 residents out of a total population of about 38,000. Some estimates put the death toll as high as 10,000. The storm remains the most deadly natural disaster in U.S. history.

Even after a century of retelling, the tale of the great Galveston hurricane still chills us with the scale of its devastation and the sudden, anonymous loss of life. Today, 10 miles (16 km) of massive concrete seawall stands between the city of Galveston and the sea, reminding all behind it of the fantastically destructive potential of tropical storms.

Authorities at first collected corpses for burial at sea. But the bodies floated back and washed up on shore. (Courtesy of the ROSENBERG LIBRARY, Galveston, Texas)

A Wave of Profits

Galveston, presently home to some 50,000 people, sprawls across a barrier island. It is connected to the coast by a causeway at the island’s north shore, a bridge on the western side, and a ferry terminal on the east end. The island, 27 miles (43 km) long, varies in width from 1.5 to 3 miles (2.4 to 4.8 km). Salt marshes fringe its north shore. On the south coast, miles of hard-packed, caramel-colored sand afford an unrivaled recreational beachfront.

Established in 1838, the town had the best natural harbor on the Texas coast. This good fortune, and later improvements to the harbor, eventually allowed even the largest ocean-going freighters to add Galveston to their ports of call.

The city developed into an important center of export. And not just from Texas and surrounding states: By century’s end, Galveston was less than 2 days by steam locomotive from Chicago and its hyperactive commodities markets.

On the eve of the great storm, Galveston was one of the country’s major shipping ports. Cash from the sale of King Cotton poured in. Hotels rose. The newly wealthy built castle-like mansions in town. The saloons were packed, and the streets were bustling with activity.

In the 1870s and 1880s, Galveston became the most populous city in Texas, with 22,000 year-round inhabitants. In the summer season, even more people swarmed the beaches, bathhouses, and elegant hotels. Then came the storm.

Stormy Water

Galveston had withstood at least 11 hurricanes before the 1900 storm. The historical record on these storms is either telegraphic in its lack of detail or virtually absent. But it’s clear the major hazard had been, and remains, high storm tides.

As a tropical storm approaches the coast, strong surface winds and low central pressure mound up water in front of the tempest. This storm surge adds to the daily high tide, creating abnormally high water and coastal flooding. Storm tides 3, 6, 9, or even 12 feet above normal are not unheard of during a major storm.

Storm tides destroy coastal development and threaten the lives of anyone caught unaware. But in a setting like Galveston — dense development on a low-lying island — the potential for devastation and loss of life is much worse. A large storm tide can wash over the entire island as the tempest makes landfall.

During the 1900 storm, a tsunami-like wall of water bulldozed everything in front of it. As the wall of debris gained mass, its destructive power also grew. The storm tide also flowed around to the bay side of the island and flooded the city from the north. There was no escape from the vise-like meeting of the waters.

The Galveston Hurricane bulldozed portions of the city up to 15 blocks from the beach. Some 3,600 structures were smashed into a chaotic mix of splintered wood, broken glass, smashed furniture and dead bodies. (Courtesy of the Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas)

Isaac Cline

The only possible escape from such a storm would have been to get out of town in time to miss it. Unfortunately, weather forecasting in 1900 was primitive compared to today’s capabilities. But Galveston did have a resident weather expert: Isaac Monroe Cline.

Cline (1861–1955) was born in Tennessee. He was an excellent student, and considered becoming a preacher or a lawyer. Instead, in 1882 he joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps, the predecessor to today’s National Weather Service.

In 1889, Cline moved from Abilene, Texas, to Galveston with his wife, Cora, and their three daughters. Cline went there to start a new weather station and run the Weather Service’s Texas branch. In 1891, Congress transformed the Weather Service into a new civilian agency, the U.S. Weather Bureau.

The young meteorologist had already begun to make a reputation for himself. He issued the first 24- and 36-hour temperature forecasts and freeze alerts to help farmers. He also fostered cooperation with weather forecasters in Mexico. But Cline did not have the tools or knowledge to anticipate the great storm.

By August 27, the storm had organized to form a tropical depression — a system of thunderstorms with a low-pressure center and internal winds — west of the Cape Verde Islands. The next day, a ship’s captain recorded steady winds of Beaufort Force 6 (25–31 mph [40–50 km/h]). The weather system continued to grow in intensity as it barreled across the warm Caribbean Sea.

The Weather Bureau knew of the storm’s existence as early as August 30. The Bureau also knew that the storm passed over Cuba September 4, heading north. On September 6, it churned northwest of Florida’s Key West.

Expecting the storm to recurve eastward, as most Atlantic tropical storms did, Weather Bureau forecasters in Washington issued warnings to the eastern Gulf Coast, Florida, and southern states on the Atlantic. Instead, the storm turned west into the warm waters of the Gulf.

The great Galveston Hurricane, first sighted as a tropical disturbance off Africa’s west coast by a ship captain, rolled across the Caribbean Islands and Cuba before reaching the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters expected it to turn north, but it headed west instead. The cyclone intensified into a major storm before making landfall near Galveston September 8, 1900. The storm, weakened but alive, churned across the entire continent, causing death and destruction even to sailors on the Great Lakes. It finally died offshore. (Credit: Extreme Weather/Theo Cobb)

On September 7, the day before landfall, Cline noticed an upturn in the size and frequency of swells reaching Galveston. The long, rolling waves were the leading edge of the storm surge.

Cline also noticed that the tide was rising. This made no sense, because the wind was blowing from the north, not from the south, which might have explained the higher tide. Nor had the barometer started to fall — another sign of a tropical storm.

Cline eventually decided a storm was coming from the sea. He ordered warning flags flown in town. According to his later memoir, Cline drove a horse and wagon along the beach at 5 a.m. the morning of the storm, to warn people to seek shelter on higher ground.

But little high ground existed in Galveston. The highest point stood only 8.7 feet (2.7m) above sea level. A storm tide estimated at 15 to 20 feet (4.6 to 6m) was coming, but most people remained in their homes. The Weather Bureau never even used the term “hurricane.” The lack of safe refuge and adequate warning doomed the city’s inhabitants.

Why didn’t Cline and the Weather Bureau see the disaster coming? Cline’s own bias probably played a role. In 1891, he published an article in a Galveston newspaper dismissing the “absurd delusion” that Galveston was at risk from hurricanes. He stated that, because of Earth’s rotation and large-scale wind patterns, tropical storms turn eastward before reaching the Gulf, except under very unusual circumstances. And even if a cyclone made it to the Texas coast, Cline argued, it would be relatively weak.

As for flooding, Cline believed storm tides would preferentially inundate the low-lying mainland coast, not Galveston. “It would be impossible,” he wrote, “for any cyclone to create a storm wave which could materially injure the city.”

By 1859, when surveyors completed this map of Galveston Island’s east end and harbor area, the city was a major center of trade. Cotton exports fueled the city’s rapid growth. (Credit: NOAA)

Disaster Day

Cline’s expectations proved tragically inaccurate. The storm enveloped Galveston the evening of September 8 with winds gusting as high as 140 mph (225 km/h). Cline and his brother Joseph, who also worked at the Weather Bureau, reported observations to Washington until the telegraph lines went down.

Like so many others, they returned home to wait out the tempest. Cline’s family and about 50 neighbors huddled in the house. During the storm, a railroad trestle broke free and struck the Cline home, tearing it apart. Isaac, his brother, and his daughters made it out of the wreckage of the house alive, but Cline’s wife drowned.

By 6 p.m. Saturday, the wind tore off the gauges at 100 mph. A dark, deadly night was coming. At about this time, Samuel O. Young, secretary of the city’s Cotton Exchange and Board of Trade, watched the mounting violence from his home. He had earlier observed the ocean start to encroach on the Strand, the city’s opulent main drag.

Now, through a west window in his home, Young saw the tide rise a full 4 feet in one pulse. Then he saw several large houses fall apart like toys and float away. Cline witnessed something similar: water rising from a depth of 8 inches to 4 feet on his first floor in the time it took for him to cross the room.

Texas historians have collected scores of equally harrowing personal accounts of the storm. A typical scenario of death saw people wading chest-deep in water and then climbing to the upper floors of buildings as the floodwater rose rapidly. Finally, the buildings collapsed, carrying many victims into the chaotic pile of splintered planks, broken glass, smashed furniture, and drowned bodies. And all this occurred in pitch darkness as the storm howled like a freight train. Venturing outdoors was certain death.

Galveston Mourns

Charles Law, a traveling salesman who stayed the night in the Tremont Hotel, ventured outside Sunday morning after a night when he and many others waited helplessly for death. “I went out into the streets and the most horrible sights you can ever imagine,” he later recounted in a letter to his wife. “I gazed upon dead bodies laying here and there. The houses all blown to pieces. . . And when I got to the gulf and bay coast, I saw hundreds of houses all destroyed with dead bodies all lying in the ruins, little babies in their mothers’ arms.”

The authorities first tried to dispose of the bodies by towing them in barges out to sea. But the bloated corpses floated back to shore. Most bodies were burned in large pyres onshore, a process that continued for more than 6 weeks. Family, friends, and neighbors watched as about 1 in every 6 of their number went up in smoke with the wreckage of the city.

The storm headed inland as far as Ontario, Canada, weakened but still dangerous. Thirteen lost their lives on Lake Erie with the sinking of two steamships. The Canadian fishing fleet took heavy losses of ships and sailors. The storm headed into the North Atlantic September 13 and eventually died.

GALVESTON’S NEW COASTAL DEFENSE SYSTEM included a massive wall that stood between the sea and most of the city center by 1904. Subsequent additions extended the wall for 10 miles (16 kilometers). (Credit: Courtesy of the ROSENBERG LIBRARY, Galveston, Texas)

City on the Mend

The great storm had proved Isaac Cline tragically wrong about Galveston’s vulnerability to hurricanes. In response, the survivors decided to harden Galveston Island against flood tides and surf. On the ocean coast, Galveston built a massive seawall to protect the city’s core. It has grown over the years. Today, the concrete wall measures 16 feet (4.9m) at its base, rises 15.6 (4.8m) feet above sea level, and spans more than 10 miles (16 km).

To protect against flooding, engineers raised the island’s elevation, pitching it 1 foot per 1,500 feet of distance from the high side at the seawall toward the north shore. This required 16 million cubic yards of fill. Buildings were raised on screw jacks so sandy fill could be pumped underneath. The same went for sewer and gas lines.

The fill material was a slurry of water and sand dredged from the ship channel between Galveston and Pelican Island. Workers pumped it through pipes into the spaces beneath the suspended buildings. Gradually, the fill drained and hardened. By 1911, some parts of the city were raised as much as 11 feet (3.4m).

Life went on for Cline, too. He moved to New Orleans in 1901 to become forecaster- in-charge of the Weather Bureau’s Gulf District. He was responsible for the coast stretching from Texas to Florida. In addition to his regular duties, Cline continued to study tropical cyclones. He developed a method for tracking and forecasting storm trajectories based on detailed meteorological data collected in front of and to the sides of storms. Cline collected detailed data on 16 cyclones from 1900 to 1924. He published his observations and methods for charting storms in a book, Tropical Cyclones, in 1924. Cline retired in 1935. He remained an art dealer in New Orleans’ French Quarter until his death in 1955.

Storms to Come?

The reconstruction of the Oleander City buried most of Galveston’s trees and well-maintained gardens and greenery. So were the graves of many past residents. Galveston was, in a real sense, a city whose slate had been wiped clean and rewritten.

One fact about Galveston remains the same: It is vulnerable to attack from the sea. After a 1915 hurricane comparable to the 1900 tempest, much of the city flooded, although not catastrophically. Structures behind the seawall generally survived the onslaught. But as the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster reminded us, it never pays to underestimate the destructive potential of hurricanes. Although we may be able to forecast storms much better and mandate evacuation plans that can save thousands of lives, nothing can stop a hurricane on the move — except its collision with the coast. Galveston and thousands of other seaside communities can only wait to see what nature has to dish out in future storms.

This story originally appeared under the headline “How Galveston survived America’s deadliest storm” in the 2008 Extreme Weather special issue .


Ver el vídeo: A look back at the devastating 1900 Galveston hurricane


Comentarios:

  1. Micheal

    Delicioso

  2. Gideon

    ¿Quien te lo dijo?

  3. Yafeu

    Publicación autorizada :), Curious ...

  4. Doulabar

    Idea muy divertida



Escribe un mensaje