The storm of September 8th did not, as has been supposed,
come upon the city without warning. The same storm, less
ferocious perhaps, had swept along the South Atlantic coast
several days before. It had its origin in that breeding place of
hurricanes, the West Indies, and, after swirling along the Florida
and Carolina shores, doubled on its tracks, entered the Gulf,
came racing westward and developing greater strength with each
hour, and centered all its energies upon the Texas coast near
On September 7th there was official warning of the approach
of a severe storm, but no one expected such a tempest as was
destined to devastate the city. Such warning as was given was
rather addressed to mariners about to go to sea than to those living
Simultaneously with the approach of the hurricane was a
great wind from the north, known locally as a "Norther." This
developed at Galveston about 2 A. M., on September8th. The
approaching hurricane from the east and southeast had been
driving a great wall of water toward the shore at Galveston. The
tremendous wind storm from the north acted as a counter force
or check to the hurricane element.
The north wind blew the water from Galveston Bay on the
one side of the city and the storm in the Gulf hurled its battalions
of waves upon the beach side of the city.
Early in the day the battle between these two contending
forces offered a magnificent spectacle to a student of scenery of
nature. As long as the north wind held strong the city was safe.
While the winds dashed great volumes of water over the wharves
and flooded some streets in the business portion of the city and
the waters of the Gulf on the other side of the city encroached
upon the streets near the beach there was no particular fear of
serious consequences, but about noon the barometer, which had
been very low, suddenly began to drop at a rate that presaged a
storm of tremendous violence.
Following this came the warning that the wind would, before
many hours, change from the north to the southeast and to the
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 May 4, 2016.