58 INCIDENTs OF) THE' AW\VFL HI RRICANE.
"Several members of the police force were lost, and others
lost their families. The force is greatly reduced in numbers, and
at present is insufficient to meet the demand upon it."
The foregoing is a horrifying account, truthful and not overdrawn.
In fact, the picture is far short of the reality.
RESISTLESS POWER OF THE HURRICANE.
It is a misnomer to call the violent revolving storm which
devastated the city of Galveston and the adjacent coast of Texas
a cyclone. It was in reality a hurricane, and more specifically
what is known to meteorologists as a West Indian hurricane. A
hurricane has a much smaller centre or diameter than a cyclone,
travels with far greater rapidity, and its blasts often reach a
velocity of ioo miles an hour. The hurricane of tle WVest Indies,
which is really born in the heated waters of the South Atlantic,
and which as a rule curves when it reaches the Yucatan Channel
and follows the course of the Gulf Stream, decreases in intensity
as it travels further north, broadens in diameter, and becomes the
cyclone of the North Atlantic.
It is a curious feature of thle Galveston hurricane that, like
the great hurricane of September, I889, which devastated Vera
Cruz, it did not follow the course of the Gulf Stream, but curved
westward instead of eastward, after passing the Yucatan Channel,
and rushed in upon the Texan coast. Galveston was not up to
this time considered as within the hurricane belt, and its awful
visitation is proof that the laws of storms have exceptions to their
The late Padre Vines, of Havana, the venerable and learned
Jesuit priest, who made a lifelong study of the birth and course of
West Indian hurricanes, was accustomed to warn by cable the
many friends that he had among the captains of the vessels plying
to and from West Indian ports of the approach of hurricanes
and their probable course.
In September, I889, he cabled to Captain Joshua Reynolds,
commanding one of the Ward steamers, and who was just leaving
Vera Cruz for New York, that a hurricane was approaching from
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 July 5, 2015.