The Great Galveston Hurricane

November 16, 2012 Written by Kaine McAlister

An Introduction to Hurricanes

Hurricanes are one of the most powerful storms on Earth. In the 1900 they were even unpredictable. So I have studied about a hurricane of my choice to write an essay on and I chose the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900. I will give you information on how hurricanes form and gain strength, how they are categorized and named, and information on the most deadly hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States.


Formation and Strength of a Hurricane

Hurricanes occur anywhere from mid August to late October. Hurricanes form over water eighty degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. The warm water is like fuel a hurricane. Warm water also evaporates faster making a humid atmosphere and lots of fast forming clouds all making the hurricane more powerful. Winds will then start making a formation process over the warm water. A tropical storm will form and begin gaining strength. As it gets stronger it will finally form a hurricane. In the picture to the right is a satellite image of Hurricane Ivan. Today we know more about hurricanes then we ever have because of the advancing technology in our world. During 1900 if a hurricane hit they would have no clue it was coming.

Naming and Categorizing

When a hurricane has formed it will get a name and a category. From 1950 to 1962 tropical storms were identified by the phonetic alphabet. Then in 1953 the US Weather Bureau switched to using women names. Men began to think it wasn't fair that their names wasn't apart of the list and then the World Meteorological Organization took over and added six lists of different names that alternate each year. If a hurricane does to much damage the names is removed and replaced. In the picture to the right is of damage from the Great Galveston Hurricane. In the 1900 they could not track hurricanes like when can now so this hurricane was completely unexpected. Hurricanes are then categorized by the Saffir Simpson scale from category one through five by wind speed, air pressure, storm surge, and damage. In category one the wind speed is 74 to 95 mph, category two is 96 to 110 mph, category three is 111 to 130 mph, category four is 131 to 155 mph, and finally category five is 155 mph or greater.

The Deadliest Hurricane in History

For my choice of destructive hurricanes I chose the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900. The Galveston Hurricane became a category one hurricane around September 6th, 1900 and made landfall around September 8th, in Galveston, Texas. The Galveston Hurricane had a storm surge as high as fifteen feet and wind speeds as fast as 130 mph. There was a death total of about twelve thousand and a staggering thirty million dollars in damage. In the picture to the right is a tracking map of the Galveston Hurricane. As soon as the Tropical storm hit Galveston it became an actual hurricane. The Galveston Hurricane is currently the deadliest weather disaster in the United States history. With lack of detection technology and weather forecasting people didn't listen to warnings of hurricanes, they instead watched the large waves crash ashore.

A Conclusion on Hurricanes

So altogether hurricanes are powerful acts of nature. They can cause many deaths, and a lot of damage such as the picture to the left. Located in the picture is more destruction by they Galveston Hurricane. Since these unstoppable storms are so powerful, we need to learn how they form and gain strength. Then we must give it a tracking name and categorize it. Finally we need to study the past hurricanes to prepare for the future.