HOUSTON – The Texas coast is ground zero for some of the most deadly and damaging hurricanes in U.S. history.
From the infamous 1900 hurricane that leveled Galveston to our most recent mega-storm, Hurricane Harvey, more than a century of storms that are staggering when you consider the numbers.
The estimated death toll from the Category 4 hurricane that struck Galveston on Sept. 8, 1900. A surprise storm packing 135 mile-per-hour wind and a 15-foot storm surge. The island, completely submerged. Completely destroyed. It stands as the deadliest natural disaster in our nation's history, and it prompted the construction of the now-famous sea wall that helps to protect the island from storms to this day.
The number of inches of rain that fell in Alvin during Tropical Storm Claudette in one July day in 1979. The most significant 24-hour rainfall event in recorded U.S. history until last year, when 49 inches of rain fell on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.
The number of people forced into shelters by Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. The storm flooded 73,000 homes in Harris County and caused $5 billion in property damage.
The number of gallons of water that fell from the sky during Hurricane Harvey. Up to five feet of rain from Houston to Beaumont. Half a million flooded cars. 300,000 flooded structures. 40,000 people evacuated in 30,000 water rescues. The death toll: 68. It is our nation's greatest tropical rainfall event. At $125 billion in damage, it is second only to Hurricane Katrina in financial cost.
Based on data going back to 1900, we can expect a hurricane or tropical storm to hit somewhere along the Texas coast in eight out of every 10 years. That's a sobering statistic. While not every storm is a record-breaker, every storm does possess the threat for flooding, wind and surge.