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Natural Disasters

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Natural Disasters

Over the last century America has endured many natural disasters. From the Tri state Tornado of 1925 to the earthquakes in San Francisco, but nothing compares to Mother Nature's hurricanes. The Galveston hurricane of 1900, the Okeechobee Hurricane and Hurricane Katrina were the deadliest, most destructive and costliest natural disasters to hit America in the past century.

Dr. Isaac M. Cline states " The Hurricane that visited Galveston Island on Saturday, September 9th 1900, was no doubt one of the most important meteorological events in the world's history" (Cline). The great Galveston hurricane is considered the worst natural disaster to touch American soil in the past century (Gibson). Due to Galveston being a city built on sand and the highest point was only 8.7 ft above sea level, the hurricane tore through Galveston overnight. According to P. Hughes in The Great Galveston Hurricane, by dawn the hurricane had killed 6000, destroyed over 1500 acres, 2636 houses and nearly half the homes were swept out of existence (2). One third of the city was destroyed along with a sixth of their residents. The National Weather Bureau had said the coast of Galveston could not have a hurricane because of the gently sloping sea floor. Due to poor judgment by the National Weather Bureau forecasters there was no warning about the hurricane.

The Okeechobee Hurricane hit Puerto Rico as a Category 5 Hurricane and then hit land in West Palms, Florida, as a category 4. Because of the recent 1926 Flood of Miami, the National Weather Bureau had prepared Florida's coast and evacuated the majority of the

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coastal population. The hurricane hit Florida with 150 mph winds and strong tidal surges. It did minimal

damage on the coast, but not till days later did America see the damage it had on the local cities surrounding Lake Okeechobee. Due to the heavy rain "the lake had risen three feet in thirty days" (Barnes). The strong storm winds pushed the water of Lake Okeechobee over the earthen dam and flooded nearby towns with 25 ft deep water. According to The National Hurricane Center, the Okeechobee Hurricane took over 1836 lives and caused

75 million dollars in damage. Nicole Brochu states in the Sun-Sentinel, Okeechobee killed half the population of western Palm Beach County (Brouchu). Because of the bad publicity Florida had just received after the 1926 Miami Flood and the economic bust that followed, some officials at first down played the disaster, leaving the aftermath of Lake Okeechobee cities with no aid, food or clean water. Only after the Red Cross stepped in did some officials acknowledge the disaster (Barnes).

Hurricane Katrina is considered the third largest natural disaster of the past century in the United



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