The dawn of the 20th century ushered in many dramatic changes in the
United States. The Wright Brothers conducted flight experiments at Kittyhawk, North Carolina.
The U.S. population was 76 million in 1900 compared to 270 million in the year 2000. And,
the U.S. government took in $567 million in 1900. At the end of the 20th century
it took in $1.7 trillion.
There were many memorable events in the United States throughout the 20th
century. The Galveston, Texas, hurricane of 1900 remains the worst disaster
in American history. More than 8,000 people perished September 8, 1900 when the category
4 hurricane barreled into Galveston, where many people were on vacation.
In 1900 there were no weather satellites and no Doppler radar. However,
warnings were issue by the U.S. Weather Bureau, the predecessor of NOAA's National
Weather Service. People were advised to seek higher ground. Many
didn't heed the warnings preferring instead to watch the huge waves.
On September 8, the hurricane slammed into Galveston almost head on. Waves
were higher than 15 feet and winds howled at 130 miles per hour. By the time the storm
passed, more than 8,000 people were dead, countless were injured and half
of the island's homes had been swept away.
Read the report of
Isaac Cline, the local forecast official with the U.S. Weather Bureau, who recounts
the events of those days. He lost his wife when their home collapsed in
the onslaught of the storm.
Can this happen today? It's possible. Even though there have been great
technological advances in weather forecasting the past 100 years and the
city has erected an 18-foot seawall, Galveston is not invincible to such powerful
storms. Since many people in the United States have moved closer to the shore,
trying to evacuate the population of Galveston could take days.
NOAA remembers the storm of 1900 and those who lost their lives.
Historic Photos from NOAA's Photo Library Online
These photos were taken from the book "The Complete Story of the Galveston Horror," edited by John Coutler,
which was published in 1900 by J. H. Moore & Company of Chicago. These photos are in
the public domain. Please credit "NOAA."
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Chris Vaccaro, NOAA National
Weather Service headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., at (301) 713-0622 or Ron Trumbla, NOAA National Weather Service Southern Region headquarters, at (817) 978-1111 ext. 140
To comment on this Web site and also arrange media interviews contact
Greg Hernandez, NOAA public affairs Washington, D.C., (202) 482-3091