fury of the wall of water being driven upon Galveston by the
approaching hurricane would be added all the tremendous force
of the wind that had previously acted as a partial check to the
To those who previously had no fear, the certainty that the
wind would change came as the first real note of warning. With
the first shifting of the wind the waters of the Gulf swept over
the city. Houses near the beach began to crumble and collapse,
their timbers being picked up by the wind and waves and thrown
in a long line of battering rams against the structures. Men,
women and children fled from their homes and sought safety in
higher portions of the city, or in buildings more strongly built.
Some were taken out in boats, some in wagons, some waded
through the waters, but the flood rose so rapidly that the approach
of night found many hundreds battling in the waters, unable to
reach places of safety. The air was full of missiles.
The wind tore slates from roofs and carried them along like
wafers. A person struck by one of these, driven with the fearful
violence of the storm, was certain to be maimed, if not killed outright.
The waves, with each succeeding sweep of the in-rushing
tide, brought a greater volume of wreckage as house after house
toppled and fell into the waters. So tremendous was the roar of
the storm that all other sounds were dwarfed and drowned. During
the eight hours from 4 P. M. until midnight, the hurricane
raged with a fury greater than words can describe. What height
the winds reached will never be known. The wind gauge at the
weather bureau recorded an average of 84 miles an hour for five
consecutive minutes, and then the instruments were carried away.
That was before the storm had become really serious. The belief,
as expressed by the observer, that the wind averaged between IIO
and I2o miles an hour, is as good information as is obtainable.
Nothing so exemplified the impotency of man as the storm.
Massive buildings were crushed like egg shells, great timbers
were carried through the air as though they were of no weight,
and the winds and the waves swept everything before them until
their appetite for destruction was satiated and their force spent.
Lester, Paul. The great Galveston disaster, containing a full and thrilling account of the most appalling calamity of modern times including vivid descriptions of the hurricane. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth26719/. Accessed March 7, 2014.