113th anniversary of worst hurricane in U.S. history - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

113th anniversary of worst hurricane in U.S. history

Sunday marks the 113th anniversary of the United State's worst natural disaster.

113 years ago today, on September 8th 1900, a category four hurricane made landfall along the upper Texas coast. It achieved the title of the worst natural disaster in United States history, primarily due to the abnormally large death toll.

By the time the storm left what is now the Houston-Galveston metropolitan area, an estimated 8,000 people lost their lives; most of whom drowned on Galveston island when a estimated 15 to 20-foot storm surge overtook the island.

At the time of the storm, the now famous Galveston sea wall had not been built. The entire island only stood a few feet above sea level, and was easily overtaken by the high tide.

Following the disaster, one of the largest engineering projects in American history took place. An over three mile long, 17-foot high, 16-foot thick sea wall was constructed. At the same time, the level of the island immediately behind the storm surge-stopping wall was raised by several feet.

Today the seawall spans over 10 miles and has protected the portion of the island behind it from Hurricanes Carla (1961), Alicia (1983), Ike (2008), and countless others over the years.

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