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What'd we learn from the deadliest US hurricane?

Posted at 10:43 AM, Sep 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-09 08:09:11-04

Galveston, Texas changed forever on September 8, 115 years ago, when the deadliest hurricane to ever hit the United States made landfall.

Even after more than a century, the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 still holds the undesirable record of being the deadliest hurricane to ever hit the Unites States.

Galveston was a bustling coastal city in 1900 with a population of 36,000 people.

But without satellites, it was impossible for meteorologists to monitor the oceans where hurricanes form like they do today, so information about the storm was minimal.

Also at the time, forecasts from other governments of the incoming storm were mostly ignored.

Because of these two factors, the death toll from this category 4 storm ranges anywhere from 6,000 to 12,000, but the official number in the history books sits at 8,000.

More than 3,600 homes were destroyed, mostly from the 15 foot storm surge in a city that only sits 8.7 feet above sea level.

After the storm, cleanup and reconstruction was slow, and a large seawall was built to protect the city from another devastating storm surge.

More than a century later, forecasts and technology have greatly improved, which gives coastal communities enough time to evacuate when a big storm threatens.