Pat Shingleton: "September Storms"
This excerpt was posted by Isaac Cline, Chief of the U.S. Weather Bureau in Galveston. "Sunday, September 9, 1900 revealed one of the most horrible sights that ever a civilized people looked upon." It was the end of five days of devastation. Never before or since have more Americans died in any single natural disaster. Nearly 7,000 lives were lost because of a hurricane that leveled Galveston. The number of dead and oppressive heat that followed the storm, prevented proper burial. When bodies were weighted and taken deep into the Gulf of Mexico for burial, they washed back onto the Galveston Beach. The greatest death toll from any single hurricane occurred along the coast of Bangladesh on Nov. 12 1970. A gigantic cyclone bombarded the Bay of Bengal spreading a wall of water 20 feet high over the islands and settlements in the Ganges Delta where estimates of 300,000 people drowned. During the middle of the eighteenth century, seafarers believed a major storm would occur around the end of summer, closer to the autumnal equinox. The sailors would refer to these systems in September and October as a "line storm." When the sun crossed the equator or "line" on its journey to the southern hemisphere, its direct rays would also move in a line across the equator. The sun's rays wouldn't create the storm but a thermal contrast did occur. The cool air from the north colliding with super-warm southerly air activated more tropical storm activity. The results are contrasting air masses that produce drastic fronts and winter-type storms in temperate regions. The traditional period for the peak threat of storm activity is the 60-day interval targeted around September 10.