The year was 1900. The place: Galveston, Texas, a growing town with dreams of becoming the next Houston. The guy: Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau, sent to Galveston with explicit instructions to establish a state-wide weather service, while simultaneously improving the perception of the bureau as—gasp—ineffective at predicting the weather.
So much for that plan. On September 8, Galveston is hit by an enormous hurricane, which over the course of the day destroys the town, kills more than 6,000 people—some estimates put the total as high as 12,000—and lends both anecdotal and scientific evidence to what was only recently proven again along the East Coast: hurricanes are serious business. Continue reading