History and Weather Disasters: The 1900 Galveston Storm III

Not much is known about what the exact conditions of the weather during the 1900 Galveston hurricane was. Chief meteorologist Isaac Cline and other meteorologist of 1900 used instruments that are very far from the likes of our weather technology today. Not much was known about cyclones that were tropical, as hurricanes were what was called then. The night of terror when the Galveston storm came crashing through the shore of the coastal town inspired Cline to dedicate the rest of his career in studying hurricanes so that the world would be prepared for destructives cyclones. So that the world in the future, relative to his time, would not have to experience the sudden horror of the 1900 Galveston storm.

During the storm, the wind speed could only be estimated as it furiously ripped the entire coast into shreds. So there really is not enough date about the historical disaster due to the lack of measuring technology in the past. According to Cline, the winds might have gone past 120 miles per hour- and that’s his estimate. Today, with our learned knowledge of hurricanes and storms; and our advanced technology to measure weather related phenomenon, the National Weather Service had also made an estimate. NWS stated that the wind speed during the 1900 Galveston storm might have been between 130 miles to 140 miles per hour. This speed was the cause of the extreme storm surge by the tide on that fatefully dreadful night.

The storm surge that had rolled onto the island was a staggering 15 foot and a half from the gulf up to the bay. Structures collapsed and the storm surge continued on. It was a wall of water so high pushing debris that was about 2 stories high pushed across the land. The wall of water and debris gained strength as it kept moving and spared none of its wrath. Isaac Cline’s family was in the way of the storm surge. As a trolley trestle that broke away from its moorings, the surge picked it up and battered the Cline’s home until it had collapsed. Isaac’s family was not spared and some of them fell into the crushing waves. In Clines memoir, he had wrote that “The battle for our lives, against the elements and the terrific hurricane winds and storm-tossed wreckage, lasted from 8 p.m. until near midnight. This struggle to live continued through one of the darkest of nights with only an occasional flash of lightning which revealed the terrible carnage about us.”

When the surge stopped, the debris that it carried served as a wall that prevented the other buildings to crumble. Despite this, only a few structures were undamaged. Pictures that were taken after the storm showed the empty street. Not a single soul was there. No trees, no animal and no people- there were only piles of debris. There was a stench of dead bodies, both from animals and people who had died that night. Technically, Galveston was destroyed on that one night. A news paper that recorded the accounts of that entire week had said that no one had escaped the storm from the loss of property and the loss of loved ones.

History and Weather Disasters: The 1900 Galveston Storm II

In 1900 in Galveston’s Daily News paper report stated that “The hurricane could never truly be written.” The grandfather of Mrs. Linda Macdonald was reported saying that he could’ve never forgotten what had happened that dreadful night. Others who have survived that night share the same exact sentiments, saying that there were absolutely no words that could have been said about the destructive hurricane which reshaped the Gulf coast ever since.

The residents of Galveston and the rest of United States had marked the hurricane of 1990 as one of the most deadly to have ever entered American soil in History as the story of the storm continues to stay within the minds of all who live near and in the coast. The historical disaster is a reminder for all of what could occur when the winds blow ruthlessly along with the merciless rise of the tides along the coasts of America that are prone to hurricanes.

The trail of destruction and death of the storm alongside eventual recovery is something that is near the hearts of residents in Galveston. And even if the years pass by, the terrible event would always be part of American history.

For the locals, if anybody refers to “the storm”, it is already pretty evident. Anybody who says that he or she had survived the storm, there is no doubt that it predates the 8th of September in 1900. If anybody had said that one of their loved ones died in the storm or have survived it, they were most likely referring to the pass 100 years ago. For the local residents in Galveston or people who lived along the coast, when you say “the storm” it most definitely refers to the 1900 Hurricane that had changed Galveston forever as it tore the city into shreds and left it in utter ruins in September 8, 1900.

Isaac Cline a meteorologist and a writer of a book about his memories during the rampage of the storm had said that when the hurricane was done thrashing the entire city, it had not just left it in tatters, but ironically it when it passed it was “a most beautiful day” he had said. Indeed the sky was brimming with brightness; it was a most beautifully warm day after the storm. It was the kind of day where the people would flock to the coastal city of Galveston to witness the return of its beauty that had made the city boom in the first place.
But unfortunately, it wasn’t until months and months of waiting after the descent of the deadly hurricane where any tourists or visitors could again step on the sandy shores of Galveston. What had taken its place were a many dead bodies, victims of the storm, buried improperly at the rummaged shore.. It left even more treacherous tasks for the clean uppers. After the storm some families who had survived had left Galveston, carrying with them the memory and the pain of the storm that had struck one fateful and terrible night.

History and Weather Disasters: The 1900 Galveston Storm I

Within the years before the exact date of September 8, 1990, a beautiful and enchanting city of Galveston was bustling with life and prosperity. From a being a small settlement, Galveston had grown into one of Texas’ wealthiest cities in the entire country. The city became Texas’s most important sea port due to a deepwater channel of natural origin. Ships and Trains pass through Galveston and about 70% of the United States’ cotton crop passes the port of the city. Not only that, but about 1000 ships had called on the Galveston port every year at that time.

The people who had the money within the country went to Galveston to bask in the relaxing warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It was considered as therapeutic since the water was shallow enough to make sure one is safely wading in it. The Beach hotel used to be a destination for tourists and people who wanted to unwind. That is, before it burned sometime before the storm in 1900. Galveston had a population of about 37,000 and was the first city to have electricity and had the first telephones. Unfortunately, an event would come and change Galveston, amidst its prosperity, forever.

The city of Galveston did think about building a seawall so that the city will be protected from high tides and storm surges as well. But it was never materialized since there had been no major weather disaster that struck them in the recent years before 1900 and that’s why the citizens had felt secured enough to not built it.

They should have built it.

On morning of September 8, 1900 the waters had started rising slowly. The residents did not mind it much as they still went on their daily routine. That is until the chief meteorologist of the United States Weather, Cline, made observations starting 5 in the morning when he had noticed that the water from the gulf kept on rising over the lower ends of the island. Among his observations were higher wind speeds and the barometer drop while the storm swells was beginning to rise.

According to Cline’s memoirs, he had known the moment of incoming danger. So he rode on his horse and tried to warn the people on the beach, imploring them to go home and told the residents to get to higher ground. During 1900, higher ground was a term which relative since the house placed on highest ground was only at an elevation level between 8 to 9 feet. But despite Cline’s warnings, the night approached that made his preparations seem fruitless.

On the peak of the storm that night, every inch of dry land on the city of Galveston was entirely covered with water. Cline wrote in his memoirs called “Storms, Flood and Sunshine.” Published in 1945 under Pelican Publishing, “In reality, there was no island, just the ocean with houses standing out of the waves which rolled between them,” He kept relaying messages all day to the Weather Service’s central office, but later on the lines had went down so he wasn’t able to continue. Cline went home located near the beach despite the deep water and found refuge along with 50 people at his house.

Earthquake Disasters: 1933 Long Beach Earthquake

On the 10th of March the year 1933 in the afternoon at 5:54pm PST, the ground below the feet of Long Beach California resident’s began to shake violently, people fell, buildings collapsed and structures crumbled. It was that event that took the name “The 1933 Long Beach Earthquake”. The earthquake that had struck was measured and had a magnitude of 6.4 while also having a Mercalli intensity of VII, which meant it was at the maximum and was considered as “severe”. The epicenter of the earthquake was located offshore at the southeast portion of Long Beach California on the Inglewood Fault at Newport. Continue reading

Earthquake Disasters: Sylmar Earthquake Tectonics II

The mountains of San Gabriel are 37 miles and are long portions of the Transverse Ranges that are bordered along the northern part of the San Andreas Fault, south of the Cucamonga Fault and southwestern portion of the Serra Madre Fault. Part of the Transverse Ranges are Santa Ynez, the Santa Monica Mountains and San Bernardino. From the Islands of Channel offshore unto the Little San Bernardino Mountains which is 300 miles or 480 kilometers towards the east; that is the stretch of the domain’s ranges. At the base of San Gabriel Mountains lies its frontal fault’s system. It extends from the Fault Zone of San Jacinto located in the east to the offshore portion of Malibu located in the west. This is primarily defined by the moderate – shallow faults that are dipping northward with a vertical displacement that is estimated to be about 4,000 – 5,000 feet.

Evidences have revealed that the Transverse Ranges in the west were formed when the Pacific Plate had moved northward which was relative to the North American Plate. When the plate had shifted northwards, a part of the terrain which was parallel to the coast was rotating in a clockwise motion. This left it oriented between the east and west. The perimeter of the series of basins that have a starting point at the Santa Barbara Channel were formed by the Transverse Ranges. A few number of damaging occurrences have happened, with three situated at Santa Barbara in the years 1812, 1925, and 1978 and the other two in San Fernando Valley in the years 1971 and 1994, though other the faults in the basin that has a high Quaternary slip rate have not made any large earthquakes.

With that said, the San Fernando earthquake happened along with strong ground motion that lasted for 12 seconds. The faulting’s origin was five miles to the north of the Valley of San Fernando. Significant damage has been seen in portions localized in the valley. Not only have that but also in the foothills of the mountains of San Gabriel right above the block fault. What was responsible for the movement was the fault that had the least suspicion to cause any harm or the least threatening of all. After the event, an urgency erupted in identifying other faults that are similar to that one in the metropolitan area of Los Angeles.

Key attributes to the event considered that thrust faults within the mountains located north of Los Angeles resulted to an earthquake. This earthquake had a similar magnitude to the Northridge Earthquake in the year 1994. Both earthquakes had occurred in industrial and urban areas; both occurrences struck into the hearts of the survivors and the residents of California. The tragedies had caused Considerable economic impairment and loss of irreplaceable lives. Each of these events have prompted an urgent necessity in the careful scrutiny of the geological structure of the place, and this has been the object of study in scientific communities in the area and the planning authorities.

Earthquake Disasters: Sylmar Earthquake III Aftershocks & Landslides

An inspection that lasted for three weeks studying the aftershocks was done by the Californian Institute of Technology. The events that were being included in the study were events that have been recorded by various stations. An USGS instrument was situated at the Point Mugu and California’s Department of Water Resources which were seismometers at the Pyramid Springs and the Cedar Springs. The seismometers that were stationed temporarily were set up as a response to the main shock was functioning within the six to seven days after the earthquake. It had provided data in addition the previous ones until the 1st day of March. The item catalog was almost entirely complete and included about 200 shocks with a magnitude of 3.0 and above. About 4 of the shocks were measured to have a magnitude of 5.0 and above. In the first hour of the activity, the smaller events were overshadowed by the much larger aftershocks.

The general patter of the aftershock appeared in the figure of a symmetrically inverted U although it had a bit more concentrated events on the flank of the southwestern part. Seven of the shocks that were smaller had approached the faulting’s area of surface although for most of the part, the part that had experiences the most shaking and had taken the most damage had lacked aftershock activity. The Pacoima Dam’s high peak ground acceleration reading was very near to the middle of the aftershock free zone.

The USGS had commissioned a private company along with the U.S. Air Force to get aerial photographs above the 97 square mile mountain area north of San Fernando Valley. The analysis had showed that the earthquake had triggered about 1,000 and more landslides. Shattered rock were also documented on the ridge top area and the rock-falls, it seemed to be the effects the combined power of an aftershock and an initial shock. A few of the data that were recorded aerially were being studied from the ground as well. The most number of slides that were centered to the southwestern part of the epicenter of the main shock and near the areas where the surface faulting had taken place. The slides had ranged from 49 feet up to 984 feet or 15 meters to 300 meters in length, and could be categorized as slumps, rock falls, decries slides, soil falls, and avalanches. The most commonly encountered type of slide is the surficial debris slide. These types of slides were most common on terrains that are made up of sedimentary rock.

These occurrences, although tragic are being used as a wakeup call for people to make an action towards safety awareness. Sometimes we can say that it is the shortcomings of our experts that contribute to the overall damage of the earthquake. But these experts are also the same exact people who help the public understand what is going on under them. They are also

Earthquake Disasters: Sylmar Earthquake

In the early hours of February 9 in the year 1971, the foothills of San Gabriel Mountains located in the southern area of California was rudely awaken by a sudden violent shaking of the ground. The earthquake was soon to be known as “the Sylmar Earthquake”. The totally unexpected earthquake was measured to have the magnitude of 6.5 up to 6.7 as done by seven different independent institutions; and had the maximum intensity of XI or in other words extreme according to the Mercalli scale. The occurrence was one that had an effect in Los Angeles in the late parts of the 20th century.

A study was then conducted on the Sierra Madre Fault and the results indicate that earthquakes had occurred in the past located near its Transverse ranges. The casualties were severe in the local northern San Fernando Valley. The fault on the surface was extensive and was to the south of the epicenter that was in the mountains along with the urban settings, city streets and the neighborhoods. The uplift and the other effects of the earthquake had affected most private homes and business. Continue reading

History and Weather Disasters: The Hurricane of 1954

In the year 1954 October 5, the skies above the Windward Islands, about 50 miles off the coast of Island Grenada, began to take a very deadly turn for the worse. It was at this period of time where primary indications of a tropical storm had become apparent to the people both of United States and Canada. The storm then began to take a westward turn into the Caribbean Sea in the 8th of October before it suddenly moved northwards under the influence of the previously mentioned sea’s low pressure area.

In the 9th of October 1954, the storm had intensified into a Category 4. A category 4 means that the storm would be going within the speed range of 130 mph up to 156 mph. The storm that is mentioned though, had winds that were going in a speed of 135 mph. Between October 9th and the 12th, the storm headed north then it took a northwest turn moving towards Haiti, crossing its western side on the 10th of October. With winds going 130 mph and considered as a Category 4, the storm, along its trail left about 400 to 100 people dead. This storm is more famously known as Hurricane Hazel; the strongest hurricane that was encountered in 1954. Continue reading

History and Weather Disasters: The Columbus Day Storm

One Friday afternoon in October, the skies above began to change; from what used to be a clear blue sky turned into a gut wrenching yellow and green hue tinted with dark rumbling clouds. No one in Oregon has ever seen anything of that kind before. A woman in her office agreed with her co-workers to head home and be with their families. Little did she know that the storm that was surging in would soon be the cause of her nightmares not too far into the future. In another side of Oregon, a father who never used to take his kids home from school, showed up fighting the wind to bring his kids one by one into the car. There were people in the school bus that had brought chainsaws to clear a path for the children to go since the trees and polls were being torn down by the ruthless wind.

Photo Credits: OregonLive.com

Photo Credits: OregonLive.com

On October 10 1962, two days before Columbus Day, a storm was beginning to form from the gulf of Alaska. Heavy and cold air collided with the lighter and moist air just from the north of the equator. The next day, the process aforementioned repeated itself and the storm gained even more strength. Friday came, and in that afternoon the winds that were developing finally unraveled its worse, from 52 mph in Yreka, CA to 138 mph in Newport, OR. On that day a climatologist named George Taylor stated that the storm was the “pinnacle of a type of weather event that is quite common in Oregon” “A mid-latitude synoptic-scale cyclone.” So what is a mid-latitude cyclone in the synoptic scale?

A mid-latitude cyclone is a low pressure area characterized by a cyclonic movement in other words, it moves counter clockwise. It is neither a hurricane nor a tropical storm since the size of a mid-latitude cyclone is significantly larger. A research published in the Monthly Weather Review concluded that “The results of the preceding sections demonstrate that synoptic scale cyclone systems can be centers of intense energy exchange”. Synoptic scale is simply any chart or map that has the details of the presented atmosphere in a large area in a certain period in time.

This mid latitude synoptic-scale cyclone would later on be known as the “Big Blow” or “The Columbus Day Storm.” The windstorm tore its way onto the memories of the Americans, especially those living in Oregon, where the peek gust of 138 mph was recorded. The Big Blow surpassed the 1957 Hurricane Hazel with a recorded peak gust of 127 mph. The Columbus Day Storm is the most powerful storm to have ever hit the Pacific Northwest in the 20th century. The storm had left a trail of death, destruction and fear on its wake with a recorded death toll of 46 people and had left 317 others injured in hospitals. Properties that would total millions were destroyed, including 70% of the structures in Lake Oswego, Oregon and 16 thousands of trees; some of which were a thousand years old, uprooted and blown away.

Best Reminders on How to Prepare Survival Kits in Portland Effectively

It is always important to plan in advance whatever your undertakings are. Much more it if it concerns the safety and security of your family.  Like for example, you must know how to answer these questions: How am I going to go into a safer place? How will I get in touch with my family members and loved-ones? How am I going to prepare them with my survival kits in Portland? “All these factors are important in considering how to prepare against any disaster or calamities.

If you make a clear picture of what must be found inside your survival kits in Portland, you will end up preparing the following things: Continue reading