Isaac Cline and Galveston Hurricane

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Table of contents

  1. U.S Army Signal Corps Weather Bureau Relationship with Cuban forecasters
  2. Forecasting Errors made by Isaac Cline that resulted in Thousands of Deaths
  3. Conclusion

The essay talks of the 1900 Hurricane that rocked the city of Galveston on September 8. The City of Galveston on the U.S map is located on the Western part of the South-Central part of the United States. The speed of the wind had estimates of 135 miles per hour (217 km/h) on its landfall placing its mark as a category 4 storm as defined by measurements on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. The effects that accompanied the storm were severe causing a situation where an estimated 6,000 – 12,000 people succumbed to death and left many families homeless. This storm was considered as one of the deadliest to ever hit the Atlantic after the Great Hurricane of 1780 and Hurricane Mitch which hit the United States in 1998.

U.S Army Signal Corps Weather Bureau Relationship with Cuban forecasters

The U.S Army Signal Corps Weather Bureau and Cuban forecasters had one main aim of monitoring the weather patterns so as to guide sailors while at sea and also to ensure that any activities that could be perilous in nature are prepared for and help device methods to handle the activities. At the start of signs that a storm was to strike, signals were not prompt enough for the preparation to be established. Communication between the two weather centers was not clear of what was going on as the U.S weather Bureau was not sure of the situation and had reported of a storm which was of moderate intensity. Though they did not know to which the direction the storm was heading to. The U.S bureau believed the storm would take a curve and was later reported to be traveling towards Galveston days after it had been reported over Cuba and Florida. This issue created controversy with the Cuban forecasters which led to disagreement. The Cuban forecasters reiterated that the hurricane would head west which meant that there would be continuity of course. On the contrary, one of the Cuban forecasters made a predicament that the hurricane would follow its original course and head into Central Texas close to San Antonio. Communication between the weather centers was hindered by the gust winds of the hurricane and before long, it had already struck the city of Galveston – claiming lives and causing massive destruction. Due to this misunderstanding, the unremarkable weather at the time caused confusion as few of the residents of Galveston were attentive to the warnings issued. In this respect, the few persons were forced to evacuate across to the mainland over Galveston Bridges. This meant that the majority of the residents who ignored the warnings were in danger as the clouds bearing rain had already rolled in by the middle part of the morning.

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Forecasting Errors made by Isaac Cline that resulted in Thousands of Deaths

Isaac Cline, who by then was the director of the Galveston Weather Bureau, placed his arguments which were based on the statements saying that the city of Galveston did not require a seawall which would protect the city from future hurricanes. He also reiterated that, there were no more chances of intense hurricanes which would strike the island. In this regard, the seawall was not erected thus increasing vulnerability. In the area This information made by Cline were seen as misleading as the area was a target for hurricanes and storms hence needed much attention for the protection of residents of Galveston. This needed much attention thus the city of Galveston had to be prepared at all times and monitoring systems placed on alert as the Area was prone to thunderstorms and hurricanes and was likely to be hit unexpectedly.

On the afternoon of September 8, 1900Cline took the responsibility of traveling along the beach including other areas that were of low altitude and sent out warnings to the people of Galveston indicating the arrival of an oncoming hurricane. This idea was executed without the permission from the Weather Bureaus’ office. This undertaking took twists as his responsibility in the occurrence of the disaster sparked controversy with author Erik Larson indicating in the book Isaac’s storm that prior to the hurricane’s occurrence, Cline never warned any of the residents of Galveston about a the hurricane that would soon cause havoc.


Preparation and the management of natural disasters is a key and important factor for consideration for the security of a Nation. This is evident as due to ignorance, many of the people who lived in Galveston in 1900 perished. Disaster management needs fast reactions as soon as an alert is sounded so as to avoid loss of lives even though damage can be experienced. For this to happen there must be proper communication through weather departments and the people so as to ensure security. This can only be achieved through teamwork as processions to work on a solo basis are a recipe for a disaster. In this sense, Cline was faulted for alerting people though having no permission granted from the Weather Bureau.

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Isaac Cline and Galveston Hurricane. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from
“Isaac Cline and Galveston Hurricane.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
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Isaac Cline and Galveston Hurricane [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2024 Jun 16]. Available from:

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