Weather Talk: Anniversary of the deadliest storm in U.S. history
On this date in 1900, the deadliest natural disaster in the history of the United States occurred. Katrina may well have been the costliest hurricane, but the Galveston hurricane of 1900 was the deadliest. Coming ashore with 145 mph winds, the storm would be rated Category 4 (out of five) by today's standards.
At the time, Galveston Island had a population of around 40,000 people which made it the fourth most populous — and also the wealthiest — city in Texas.
Unfortunately, the 15-foot storm surge submerged the entire island (really just a coastal sand bar) to a depth of 6 to 15 feet. The surf pounded houses to pieces and many people drowned.
Virtually every structure on the island was destroyed except for a few solidly built stone mansions. The final death count is estimated to have been 6,000 to 10,000 people.
After the storm, The city of Galveston built a reinforced concrete sea wall which continues to offer at least some protection for this vulnerable location.