Significance of "surprise" hurricane of 1943

It's hard to believe during that storm in 1943 Galveston residents had no warning before a hurricane made landfall

HOUSTON - The anniversary of the surprise storm of 1943 shows us the importance of hurricane forecasting and informing the public anytime there's action in the Gulf of Mexico.

It's hard to believe during that storm in 1943  Galveston residents had no warning before a hurricane made landfall.

"It was during World War II, 1943. There was a censorship on weather information. We didn't want the Germans operating in the Gulf to know we were at risk of a storm," said Local 2 Hurricane Expert.

The surprise storm of 1943 first formed as a disturbance in the Gulf on July 25. It quickly intensified to a strong Category 2 hurricane as it approached our Texas coast.

But the public didn't know about it until it was making landfall on the Bolivar Peninsula on July 27. Nineteen people died with $19 million in damage which equates to more than $256 million today.

Pictures from hurricane consultant Lew Fincher show the damage and destruction from the hurricane.

"Witnesses account most of the water was blown out of Galveston Bay and you could actually see the channels of Trinity and San Jacinto Rivers," said Read.

All weather information in the Gulf was censored. Boats in the Gulf couldn't radio ahead to let the public know for fear the enemy would find out. Because of this devastation and death left behind by this storm, the government was forced to change their policies.

Censorship in relation to hurricane advisories has been called the most tragic aspect of this hurricane.

"Because of the impacts and the public wasn't warned, there was discussion with Department of Defense or War Department and the Weather Bureau. They must have warning out. The storms after that did get significant lead time as best could be done in that era," Read said.

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