1900 hurricane changed Galveston and forecasting

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The storm came without a name — without warning — and it shaped the future of weather forecasting.

It's known simply as The Great Storm of 1900, and it was the worst natural disaster ever to hit the United States.

At least 6,000 people on the 30-mile-long by 3-mile wide strip of sand along the southeast Texas coastline were killed — one-sixth of the city's population. Another 10,000 were left homeless. More than 3,600 buildings were destroyed by a 16-foot storm surge fueled by 150 mph winds.

Bonnie Rice, 74, a retired caterer, was born on Galveston Island and has lived there all her life.

"My grandmother's family went in two boats to safety — one made it, the other didn't," she said Friday."My grandfather's family lived down the island and they tied themselves down to two trees. One blew away, the other didn't.

"So yes, this does make me think of it. I'm just in awe of God's nature. He can do such powerful things."

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Raul A Garcia - 9/25/2008

Audubon was knocked off his horse when the New Madrid earthquake hit. He got back on. There were no large population centers in the region at the time and there is no evidence of any significant native american losses. Reelfoot lake was created. The Galveston records are providing solid evidence. An early 1920's hurricane took a couple of thousand lives in Florida near Lake Okeechobee. A similar quake to New Madrid with the same epicenter would probably result in a number one ranking but we pray this will not happen.

James W Loewen - 9/17/2008

Hm. Was it worse than the Peshtigo fire? Than the New Madrid earthquake? This is a glib assessment.