This week in American history is marred by tragic anniversaries, 1900 Galveston Hurricane, Carla, 9/11, and Ike. Some of the deadliest disasters in American history occurred in the month of September as I will show.
The Galveston Hurricane made landfall south of Galveston on September 8, 1900. The hurricane is a Category 4 with 140 mph winds and gusts as high as 180 mph. The hurricane produced 15 foot storm surge and claimed 12,000 lives. The deadly storm surge prompted the building of the Galveston Seawall. Carla is a massive Category 4 hurricane that made landfall on Port O’Connor, Texas on September 11, 1961. It had winds of 145 mph gusts of 190 mph. Hurricane force winds would be felt in Houston despite being over 100 miles from the eye. Carla produced storm surge as high as 22 feet near Port O’Connor. Carla claimed 43 lives in Texas. Than exactly 40 years later on September 11, 2001, four hijacked airplanes crash into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. A failed one occurred with United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville. 3,000 people died and many more have been sickened from toxic dust and smoke exposure from the crashing World Trade Center. Ike paid a visit on Texas on September 13, 2008 as a large Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph with gusts as high as 140 mph. Ike produced 25 foot storm surge on Port Bolivar, the third highest after Katrina and Camille. Once Ike passed, 112 people died in Texas along with 83 throughout America and the Atlantic basin in its reign of terror.
Here are the top 10 deadliest American disasters by death toll in a single day. They exclude pandemics and wars.
1.) 1900 Galveston Hurricane September 8, 1900 12,000
2.) 1906 San Francisco Earthquake April 18, 1906 6,000
3.) 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane September 13 and 16, 1928 +4,078
4.) 9/11 Terrorist Attacks September 11, 2001 3,000
5.) Pearl Harbor Attack December 7, 1941 2,466
6.) Johnstown Flood May 31, 1889 2,209
7.) 1893 Cheniere Caminada Hurricane October 2, 1893 2,000
8.) Hurricane Katrina August 29, 2005 1,836
9.) SS Sultana April 27, 1865 1,700
10.) Peshtigo Fire October 8, 1871 +1,200
Three of the top five deadliest disasters occurred in September; Galveston Hurricane, Okeechobee Hurricane, and 9/11. Some decades had two disasters that claimed over 1,000 lives, 1890s had Sea Islands Hurricane and Cheniere Caminada Hurricane in the same year of 1893. Or the 1900s had Galveston and San Francisco, two of America’s deadliest disasters. Recently in the 2000s with 9/11 and Katrina.
Think about the news coverage back than in the 1890s and 1900s. The news coverage with 9/11 and Katrina were heavily covered from what I remember. 9/11 was non-stop coverage for a few days, even longer than the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. On top of it, there were no commercials and almost every network had 9/11 news coverage on.