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Did You Know What Was the Deadliest Day in American History? No, It Wasn’t During a War

Hurricanes are enormous storms that are deadly because they have aspects like storm surges and flooding. One particular hurricane brought about the deadliest day in American history.

According to records, the hurricane took place in Galveston, Texas, last September 8, 1900. It was unfortunate that Texas had to experience one of the worst and most destructive hurricanes of all time. Reports claim that the street in Texas got flooded because of that hurricane, homes got destroyed, and an estimate of eight thousand to twelve thousand people died because of it.

The citizens of Galveston, Texas, did not expect that the hurricane would turn out as deadly and dangerous. Accordingly, a week before the hurricane hit the area, some sailors on a ship around 1,000 miles off the coast of the West Indies said that the weather was unsettled. The hurricane first hit North America, then the Caribbean, and off the coast of Florida. However, none of these areas got hit as badly as Galveston, Texas, did.

Another reason why there was no warning to the people of Galveston, Texas, was because telegraph lines in the city got knocked down by the heavy winds. There was no way of informing the citizens because of the situation. Only one message got through, and it was through Captain Halsey of The Louisiana. He told them of what he experienced when he left for New Orleans. However, the local media reported that the incoming hurricane was just a usual summer storm.

One of the people who survived the hurricane, Katherine Vedder Pauls, shared in a statement that she saw the wall of water off the coast. Pauls said she was with her brother and their cousin at the beach when they came running to her. The brother and the cousin even told her excitedly that the “Gulf looked like a great gray wall about 50-feet high and moving slowly toward the island.” They did not know that a Category 4 hurricane caused the said wall, and it smashed right into the city.

A photo showing what was left of a home in Galveston, Texas during the deadly hurricane of 1900.

During the hurricane, the water was 15 feet deep, leaving the whole city sunk. The winds were at 145 miles per hour, leading to the destruction of the homes and the establishments. The most devastating moment took place when the waves engulfed St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum. Around 100 children were found dead the next day.
After the deadliest day in United States history, people started to load dead bodies for dumping at the ocean. However, some of the dead bodies ended up getting washed up on the beach, so the city had to resort to burning the bodies.

Those who survived the hurricane did not have homes to go to. They then stayed in temporary army shelters. Many started donating for Galveston. It was estimated that the damages to the city cost around $138.6 billion.
Because of what happened, a seawall was built from the year 1902 through 1963. Later, the city started an annual public remembrance of the storm and the lives claimed by it.

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Riley Brown
Written By

Riley is a history, lifestyle, and entertainment writer living in San Diego. He received his bachelor's degree in Journalism and Multimedia from the University of Oregon. His work has been featured in many finance and lifestyle publications throughout the US. When he is not writing, Riley enjoys reading and hanging out at the beach with his dog.


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