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Frank's Weather or Not: Tropical Wednesday and a Look Back!

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Houston, TXPicture above, Jeff Davis School in Bay City after the Velasco Hurricane

Good news for now: the National Hurricane Center predicts no tropical activity in the Atlantic Basin the next 2 or even 5 Days:

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Notice the lack of clouds out there---plenty of dry air, but also DUSTY air! African Dust inhibits tropical storms and there is a lot of it moving across the Atlantic right now and already even in the Caribbean:

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That dust will make its way to Southeast Texas Thursday and Friday so if you're affected by it--itchy eyes, nose and throat--beware! So for now, all is quiet on the Atlantic side and the GFS (American model) keeps us quiet the next 16 days, although going more than five to eight days out gets a bit risky because the model just isn't that good long term. So fingers crossed! (July 4th on that model, btw, is dry--still, don't take it to the bank just yet).

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Speaking of tropics, I spoke about them Tuesday to Insgroup and their guests (realtors, bankers, insurance agents) and had the pleasure of sitting at breakfast next to David Andrew. He told me that his great-grandfather had been rescued during the Velasco Hurricane of July 21, 1909!  That Cat 3 115mph storm brought a 20' storm surge, devastating Velasco (now part of Freeport). Below is what was left of Murdock's bath house and other piers in Galveston:

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But the Seawall stands strong in that pic and this was the first hurricane test after the Great Storm of 1900! The island did pretty well with no lives lost behind the seawall and only $100,000 damage. BUT from those at sea to Velasco to Bay City to Alvin to Columbus to as far away as Austin, the losses were significant: 41 deaths, $2million in damage (in today's money that's $55million). Only 8 buildings in Velasco still stood after the storm which blew down homes, power lines, telephone and telegraph lines, trains off tracks, barns, windmills, ricemills, and 3 sections of the Galveston Causeway! Drenching downpours flooded streets.

And in all of this, David Andrew's great-grandfather and dozens of others were stranded at the Bettison fishing pier on the north jetty of Galveston Island. At least five perished, including the owner of the pier and his wife, but twenty were saved by the Pilot Boat "Texas" and below is a picture of them:

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David's great-grandfather is on the bottom row, #4, Gray Townsend. I just love history like this, especially when I can put faces to the event. There's a good bit on Wikipedia about the Velasco Hurricane and a thorough accounting here from the Matagorda Museum/Houston Post, but not THIS story of David's forefather, hurricane survivor! No, this story you only get here! So thanks for sharing David and continue to be as lucky and safe as your great-granddad.

Don't forget our Hurricane Special airs TONIGHT on KPRC Channel 2 at 7pm! We'll have some great information for you on how to keep your family and your property safe when storms hit. KPRC2's Khambrel Marshall follows at 7:30pm with a special Newsmakers, talking to city leaders about what's being done to fix our flood problems!

Cheers,

Frank


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