Back in 1997 I followed the Surge van around the valley and became friendly with the two temps they hired for the summer gig. They were giving away a taxi and we tried to rig it as best we could, but the guy right before me in line ended up with the key that started it.
Anyway, after the last event, they stopped by my house and loaded my garage up with all the unused Surge swag. And of course cases of Surge. Easily 500 cans of soda.
At the beginning of the year 1900, the city of Galveston (on Galveston Island, a bit SE of Houston), was the richest and most populous city in Texas.
In Sept, people knew a storm was coming, but had no idea of the intensity or other details. (Pre Kitty Hawk flight) Storm warning systems were informal and kinda of word of mouth.
During the “Great Hurricane” of 1900, which hit Galveston Island in Sept, the storm surge covered the entire island to a depth of more than 10 feet. I think estimate say the surge covered perhaps 14-16 feet above ground (at the high point of the island)?
It’s believed that almost no one survived who couldn’t get to a second floor. But that was no promise of safety, as many full multi-story buildings were destroyed or washed entirely off the island.
Many full housing centers, and, if I remember, some residential schools and an entire orphanage, just washed away.
A minimum of 6000-12000 people died, based on bodies found, reported burials, and missing person claims.
Some estimates have run as high as 30,000+ dead
Due to incomplete public records of the time, plus that the storm destroyed existing public and census records located there, no one knows how many died.
Some residents were off the island, but the island had many business and tourist visitors and a huge (for the time) shipping industry.
I believe it was the second busiest port of the Gulf Coast before the hurricane?
That storm is by far the worst natural disaster in US history, in terms of fatalities.
After the storm, a cobbled-together city government tried to get fatality estimates by relying in part on the claims of relatives; but they feared so many entire families had perished that no missing person or death claims were ever made.
Galveston slowly rebuilt itself, raised the town central areas considerably by importing rock and dirt, built a seawall, and became a tourist center.
What was left of the “big business sector” (finance, industry, shipping, etc) that was portable, including the shipping/port industry, mostly moved inland to Houston.