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Texas Extreme Weather – 1910’s Style

April 27, 2014

By Paul Homewood


Corpus Christi after 1919 hurricane.

Corpus Christi after the 1919 hurricane.


More from the Texas Almanac, extreme weather events from 1900 to 1919.


April 5–8, 1900: Rainstorm. This storm began in two centers, over Val Verde County on the Rio Grande, and over Swisher County on the High Plains, and converged in the vicinity of Travis County, causing disastrous floods in the Colorado, Brazos and Guadalupe rivers. McDonald Dam on the Colorado River at Austin crumbled suddenly. A wall of water swept through the city taking at least 23 lives. Damage was estimated at $1.25 million.


Sept. 8–9, 1900: Hurricane. Galveston. The Great Galveston Storm was the worst natural disaster in U.S. history in terms of human life. Loss of life at Galveston has been estimated at 6,000 to 8,000, but the exact number has never been determined. The island was completely inundated; not a single structure escaped damage. Most of the loss of life was due to drowning by storm tides that reached 15 feet or more. The anemometer blew away when the wind reached 100 mph at 6:15 p.m. on the 8th. Wind reached an estimated maximum velocity of 120 mph between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Property damage has been estimated at $30 million to $40 million.


May 18, 1902: Tornado. Goliad. This tornado cut a 250-yard-wide path through town, turning 150 buildings into rubble. Several churches were destroyed, one of which was holding services; all 40 worshippers were either killed or injured. This tornado killed 114, injured 230, and caused an estimated $200,000 in damages.


April 26, 1906: Tornado. Bellevue, Clay County, demolished; considerable damage done at Stoneburg, seven miles east in Montague County; 17 killed, 20 injured; damage $300,000.


May 6, 1907: Tornado. North of Sulphur Springs, Hopkins County; five killed, 19 injured.


May 13, 1908: Tornado. Linden, Cass County. Four killed, seven injured; damage $75,000.


May 22–25, 1908: Rainstorm; unique because it originated on the Pacific Coast. It moved first into North Texas and southern Oklahoma and thence to Central Texas, precipitating as much as 10 inches. Heaviest floods were in the upper Trinity basin, but flooding was general as far south as the Nueces. Property damage exceeded $5 million and 11 lives were lost in the Dallas vicinity.


March 23, 1909: Tornado. Slidell, Wise County; 11 killed, 10 injured; damage $30,000.


May 30, 1909: Tornado. Zephyr, Brown County; 28 killed, many injured; damage $90,000.


July 21, 1909: Hurricane. Velasco, Brazoria County. One-half of town destroyed, 41 lives lost; damage $2,000,000.


Dec. 1–5, 1913: Rainstorm. This caused the second major Brazos River flood, and caused more deaths than the storm of 1899. It formed over Central Texas and spread both southwest and northeast with precipitation of 15 inches at San Marcos and 11 inches at Kaufman. Floods caused loss of 177 lives and $8.54 million damage.


April 20–26, 1915: Rainstorm. Originated over Central Texas and spread into North and East Texas with precipitation up to 17 inches, causing floods in Trinity, Brazos, Colorado and Guadalupe rivers. More than 40 lives lost and $2.33 million damage.


Aug. 16–19, 1915: Hurricane. Galveston. Peak wind gusts of 120 miles recorded at Galveston; tide ranged 9.5 to 14.3 feet above mean sea level in the city, and up to 16.1 feet near the causeway. Business section flooded with 5 to 6 feet of water. At least 275 lives lost, damage $56 million. A new seawall prevented a repetition of the 1900 disaster.


Aug. 18, 1916: Hurricane. Corpus Christi. Maximum wind speed 100 mph. 20 Lives lost; damage $1.6 million.


Jan. 10–12, 1918: Blizzard. This was the most severe since that of February, 1899; it was accompanied by zero degree temperature in North Texas and temperatures from 7° to 12° below freezing along the lower coast.


April 9, 1919: Tornado. Leonard, Ector and Ravenna in Fannin County; 20 killed, 45 injured; damage $125,000.


April 9, 1919: Tornado. Henderson, Van Zandt, Wood, Camp, and Red River counties, 42 killed, 150 injured; damage $450,000.


May 7, 1919: Windstorms. Starr, Hidalgo, Willacy and Cameron counties. Violent thunderstorms with high winds, hail and rain occurred between Rio Grande City and the coast, killing 10 persons. Damage to property and crops was $500,000. Seven were killed at Mission.


Sept. 14, 1919: Hurricane. Near Corpus Christi. Center moved inland south of Corpus Christi; tides 16 feet above normal in that area and 8.8 feet above normal at Galveston. Extreme wind at Corpus Christi measured at 110 mph; 284 lives lost; damage $20.3 million.



Tabloid climatologists now know that these events are caused by Mann-made CO2.

  1. April 27, 2014 9:29 am

    Reblogged this on CraigM350.

  2. John F. Hultquist permalink
    April 27, 2014 3:53 pm

    The 2nd event in the list, namely The Great Galveston Storm, has several interesting aspects that usually get lost in short summaries. The City was built on the eastern end of a low barrier island with a peak elevation of 2.7 meters. Hurricanes struck this area of the coast at least 11 times during the 19th century. When the 1900 storm arrived there was a narrow gauge RR track on the edge of the city that was pushed by the storm surge. Lengthy parts of the track held together and moved into and across the residential parts and incorporated buildings into this moving wall of destruction. The estimate of 6,000 dead is just a guess. Some guesses are much higher. The storm moved on and did much damage that is often overlooked because of the almost total destruction at Galveston.

    Some history here:

    One of the responses was to build a massive rock sea wall and then pump slush (water and sand) onto the island behind the barrier. When this was completed and the water drained away buildings could be built on the new higher surface. I think some undamaged buildings were raised in place and there were, at one time, odd items sticking out of the land (the top of fence posts). The story of the sea wall is here:

    Pictures of the sea wall are on the web.

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