1886 Indianola hurricane

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Indianola hurricane of 1886
Category 4 major hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Indianola.jpg
The city of Indianola in 1875
Formed August 12, 1886
Dissipated August 21, 1886
Highest winds 1-minute sustained:150 mph (240 km/h)
Lowest pressure 925 mbar (hPa); 27.32 inHg
Fatalities 74+
Damage $200,000 (1886 USD)
Areas affected Lesser Antilles, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Texas
Part of the 1886 Atlantic hurricane season

The 1886 Indianola Hurricane destroyed the town of Indianola, Texas and as such, had a significant impact on the history and economic development of Texas. [1] It was the fifth hurricane of the 1886 Atlantic hurricane season, and one of the most intense hurricanes ever to hit the United States.

Indianola, Texas ghost town

Indianola is a ghost town located on Matagorda Bay in Calhoun County, Texas, United States. The community, once the county seat of Calhoun County, is a part of the Victoria, Texas, Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 1875, the city had a population of 5,000, but on September 15 of that year, a powerful hurricane struck, killing between 150 and 300 and almost entirely destroying the town. Indianola was rebuilt, only to be wiped out on August 19, 1886, by another intense hurricane, which was followed by a fire. Indianola was designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1963, marker number 2642.

Contents

Meteorological history

Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale 1886 Indianola hurricane track.png
Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

A tropical storm developed east of Trinidad and Tobago on August 12, and began moving northwestward. Originally it was thought the storm became a Category 1 hurricane the next day but re-analysis now shows it remained as a tropical storm until August 14. [2] On the evening of August 15 it reached the island of Hispaniola. After crossing the south of that island as a Category 1 hurricane, it struck southeastern Cuba on August 16 as a Category 2 hurricane. [2] The storm briefly weakened over land and entered the Gulf of Mexico near Matanzas on August 18 as a Category 1 storm. As the hurricane crossed the Gulf of Mexico it strengthened further, first to a Category 2 then to a Category 3 cyclone. As it approached the coast of Texas, it intensified to a 150 mph (240 km/h) Category 4 hurricane. At the time, it was tied for the strongest hurricane ever recorded (the first reported, and confirmed, Category 5 hurricane would be in 1924). [2] On August 19, winds increased in Indianola, and, on August 20, it made landfall as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane. Pressure at landfall is estimated to be 925 mbar, which would make it the fifth strongest hurricane known to have hit the United States, and by winds, it is tied for the fourth most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland. The hurricane moved inland and eventually dissipated on August 21 in northeast Texas.

Trinidad and Tobago island country in the Caribbean Sea

Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a twin island country that is the southernmost nation of the West Indies in the Caribbean. It is situated 130 kilometres south of Grenada off the northern edge of the South American mainland, 11 kilometres off the coast of northeastern Venezuela. It shares maritime boundaries with Barbados to the northeast, Grenada to the northwest, Guyana to the southeast, and Venezuela to the south and west.

Hispaniola island in the Caribbean

Hispaniola is an island in the Caribbean island group known as the Greater Antilles. It is the second largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba, and the most populous island in the Caribbean; it is also the eleventh most populous island in the world.

Cuba Country in the Caribbean

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometres (42,800 sq mi). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometres (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

Impact

The total death toll was at least 74, including 28 in Cuba.

Most intense landfalling hurricanes in the United States
Intensity is measured solely by central pressure
RankHurricaneSeasonLandfall pressure
1 "Labor Day" 1935 892 mbar (hPa)
2 Camille 1969 900 mbar (hPa)
3 Katrina 2005 920 mbar (hPa)
Maria 2017
5 Andrew 1992 922 mbar (hPa)
6 "Indianola" 1886 925 mbar (hPa)
7 "Guam" 1900 926 mbar (hPa)
8 "Florida Keys" 1919 927 mbar (hPa)
9 "Okeechobee" 1928 929 mbar (hPa)
10 "Great Miami" 1926 930 mbar (hPa)
Donna 1960
Source: HURDAT, [3] Hurricane
Research Division [4]

The storm made landfall on the coast of Texas on August 20, wreaking property destruction in a number of towns, and resulting in a number of deaths.

In Texas, the hurricane obliterated the town of Indianola that was only just recovering from a powerful 1875 hurricane on the same location. At Indianola a storm surge of 15 feet from Matagorda Bay overwhelmed the town. Every building in the town was either destroyed or left uninhabitable. When the Signal Office was blown down, a fire started which took hold and destroyed several neighboring blocks. [5] The fire destroyed all but two of the town's buildings and killed a large number of citizens. The storm also destroyed two and half miles of railroad track, making communication with Indianola very difficult and complicating rescue efforts. [6] This storm caused fewer fatalities however (46 in Indianola, compared to 400 in the 1875 storm), largely because the storm struck during the day and residents had time to take shelter. The hurricane also ended a severe drought in Texas.

Matagorda Bay bay

Matagorda Bay is a large Gulf of Mexico estuary bay on the Texas coast, lying in Calhoun and Matagorda counties and located approximately 80 miles (130 km) northeast of Corpus Christi, 143 miles (230 km) east-southeast of San Antonio, 108 miles (174 km) south-southwest of Houston, and 167 miles (269 km) south-southeast of Austin. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by Matagorda Peninsula and serves as the mouth of numerous streams, most notably the Lavaca and Colorado Rivers. The Texas seaport of Port Lavaca is located on the system's northwestern extension of Lavaca Bay. The city of Palacios is found on northeastern extension of Tres Palacios Bay, and Port O'Connor is located on the southwestern tip of the main bay's shore. The ghost town of Indianola, which was a major port before it was destroyed by two hurricanes in the late 19th Century, is also found on the bay.

The village of Quintana, at the mouth of the Brazos River, was also destroyed. [5] At Houston, the bayou rose between 5–6 feet on August 19. The storm reached Victoria, Texas at about 7 AM, destroying or damaging most of the buildings in the city. An estimated 75 houses were destroyed and another 118 were damaged. The town's jail and high school were both damaged while the freight station, Masonic hall, and certain sections of town were "almost literally swept from the earth." No deaths were reported in the town, but the initial damages were estimated at $100,000 (equivalent to $2.4 million in 2016 [7] ) and the citizens of the town declared the hurricane "the most terrible storm ever known in Victoria." [6]

Quintana, Texas Town in Texas, United States

Quintana is a town in Brazoria County, Texas, United States. The population was 56 at the 2010 census.

Victoria, Texas City and county seat in Texas, United States

Victoria is the largest city and county seat of Victoria County, Texas. The population was 62,592 as of the 2010 census. The three counties of the Victoria Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 111,163 as of the 2000 census. Its elevation is 95 ft.

In Galveston, Texas, the storm capsized a forty-ton schooner, the Liviona Perkins, killing three crew members. The storm also damaged roads, railways, and houses, leading to an estimated $200,000 in damage (equivalent to $4.9 million in 2016 [7] ). [6]

Galveston, Texas City in Texas

Galveston is a coastal resort city and port off the southeast coast on Galveston Island and Pelican Island in the American State of Texas. The community of 209.3 square miles (542 km2), with an estimated population of 50,180 in 2015, is the county seat of surrounding Galveston County and second-largest municipality in the county. It is also within the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area at its southern end on the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Schooner Sailing vessel

A schooner is a type of sailing vessel with fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts. The most common type has two masts, the foremast being shorter than the main. While the schooner was originally gaff-rigged, modern schooners typically carry a Bermuda rig.

Aftermath

Many of Indianola's residents relocated farther inland after the storm. Five weeks later, in September 1886, another hurricane hit the Texas coast between Brownsville and Corpus Christi. Indianola was again flooded by rainwater and storm surge from Matagorda Bay. The remaining residents were evacuated. Following this storm the post office at Indianola was shut down, marking the official abandonment of the town. [5] The old town's ruins sit just offshore under 15 feet of water in Matagorda Bay.

Brownsville, Texas City in Texas, United States

Brownsville is a city in Cameron County in the U.S. state of Texas. It located on the western Gulf Coast in South Texas, approximately 276.8 miles (445.5 km) south of San Antonio, adjacent to the border with Matamoros, Mexico. The city covers 81.528 square miles (211.157 km2) and has a population of 183,299 as of 2017. It is the 131st-largest city in the United States and 16th-largest in Texas. It is part of the Brownsville–Matamoros conurbation, with a population of 1,136,995 people. The city is known for its year-round subtropical climate, deep-water seaport and Hispanic culture.

Corpus Christi, Texas City in Texas, United States

Corpus Christi, colloquially Corpus, is a coastal city in the South Texas region of the U.S. state of Texas. The county seat of Nueces County, it also extends into Aransas, Kleberg, and San Patricio Counties. It is 130 miles southeast of San Antonio. Its political boundaries encompass Nueces Bay and Corpus Christi Bay. Its zoned boundaries include small land parcels or water inlets of three neighboring counties.

The storm ended the rivalry between Galveston and Indianola as the chief port of Texas. With the abandonment of Indianola and the unwillingness of the former residents to rebuild close to shore, Galveston became the most important Texan port until the 1900 Galveston Hurricane led to the rise of Houston as a major port.

See also

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References

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  2. 1 2 3 Hurricane Research Division (2008). "Documentation of Atlantic Tropical Cyclones Changes in HURDAT". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2011-03-14.
  3. "Atlantic hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)". Hurricane Research Division (Database). National Hurricane Center. May 1, 2018. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  4. National Hurricane Center; Hurricane Research Division; Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (February 2015). "Continental United States Hurricanes (Detailed Description)". aoml.noaa.gov. Miami, Florida: United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 David Roth (2010-02-04). "Texas Hurricane History" (PDF). National Weather Service. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
  6. 1 2 3 "Damaged by Flood and Fire: Texas Town in Ruins - Many Lives Supposed to be Lost". The New York Times. August 22, 1886. p. 2.
  7. 1 2 Thomas, Ryland; Williamson, Samuel H. (2018). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved January 5, 2018. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.