The Galveston, Texas Hurricane of 1900: Readings from "Isaac's Storm" by Erik Larson
What is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a very large, often destructive swirling, cyclonic thunderstorm, characterized by high winds, a defined central "eye" (region of relative calm), and often large amounts of precipitation.
The NOAA's booklet entitled "Hurricane Basics" defines a hurricane as follows:
"A "hurricane" is the most severe category of the meteorological phenomenon known as the "tropical cyclone."
"Tropical cyclones are low pressure systems that have thunderstorm activity and rotate counterclockwise. A tropical
cyclone that has winds of 38 mph (33 kt) or less is called a tropical depression. When the tropical cyclone's winds reach
39-73 mph (34-63 kt), it is called a tropical storm. When the winds exceed 74 mph (64 kt), the storm is considered
to be a hurricane.
"The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale defines hurricane strength by categories. A Category 1 storm is the weakest hurricane
(winds 74-95 mph or 64-82 kt); a Category 5 hurricane is the strongest (winds greater than 155 mph or 135 kt).
"The category of the storm does not necessarily relate directly to the damage it will inflict. Lower category storms (and
even tropical storms) can cause substantial damage depending on what other weather features they interact with, where they strike, and how slow they move"
Films Related to "Isaac's Storm"
About the book:
Erik's Larson's heavily researched and absolutely captivating book "Isaac's Storm" has made its way into our 8th grade Earth Science curriculum as an excellent way to study the intricacies of the atmosphere and the devastating impact of storms like the hurricane of 1900. With deep insights into the very human characters that fill its pages, "Isaac's Storm" has more to offer below the surface facts of a storm that twisted through the city of Galveston - it offers a look into the history of the National Weather Service, into complicated family relationships, and into deep personal loss. The haunting image of Isaac Cline visible in the book's cover is full of mystery, history, tragedy, and ultimately survival - a reflection of what is to be found within the pages of this highly readable historical account.
The Random House website for "Isaac's Storm" can be found here.
The Random House author page for Erik Larson can be found here.
Amazon.com Author Page for Erik Larson
"Isaac's Storm" for purchase
Websites relating to the 1900 Hurricane:
The Saffir-Thompson System:
The NOAA booklet entitled "Hurricane Basics" explains the Saffir-Thompson system of rating hurricanes as follows:
ONE: Winds 74-95 mph: No real damage to building structures, Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage.
TWO: Winds 96-110 mph: Some roofing material, door, and window damage to buildings. Considerable damage to vegetation, mobile homes, and piers. Small craft in unprotected anchorages break moorings.
THREE: Winds 111-130 mph: Some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings with a minor amount of curtainwall failures, Mobile homes are destroyed. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures with larger structures damaged by floating debris. Terrain may be flooded well inland.
FOUR: Winds 131-155 mph: More extensive curtainwall failures with some complete roof structure failure on small residences. Major erosion of beach areas. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore Terrain may be flooded well inland.
FIVE: Winds greater than 155 mph: Complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings. Some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Major damage to lower floors of all structures located near the shoreline. Massive evacuation of residential areas may be required."