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Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson
1999
Crown
PAGEBAD TEXTCORRECTION
25In Galveston, the humidity was nearly one 100 percent.[]

The following analysis is provided by guest proofreader W. T. Mosley with the following comment: "...having spotted one error, he now saw many." Page 231, paraphrased.


Errors, Potential Errors, and Conflicts in Isaac's Storm


Errors

Note: Unless specifically stated otherwise, all page numbers referenced herein pertain only to Isaac's Storm.

Cover - The 1900 Galveston Hurricane is not even close to being the "deadliest hurricane in history". Even after discounting the far deadlier typhoons of the Indian Ocean, some of which have caused 100,000 - 500,000 deaths, one is left with the Inconvenient Truth found on page 51 - there are listed 22,000 fatalities from the Great Hurricane of 1780, which is 2 - 3 times as many as have ever been attributed to the 1900 Galveston Hurricane. Use of 'deadliest hurricane in US history' would be accurate. See http://www.hurricanescience.org/history/storms/

Pages x - xi - The map which depicts the city of Galveston as it was in 1900 before/after the Great Storm, contains two errors. The dot showing the location of Isaac Cline's house should be moved somewhat to the northwest of where it is currently positioned, as its address, 2511 Avenue Q, was, per the Sanford Fire Insurance Map of 1899, on the south side of Avenue Q, exactly halfway between 25th St. and 26th St., and not on the corner of 25th St. and Avenue Q. With the dot in its current location, the house appears to be on the northwest corner of 25th and Avenue Q½, facing south toward the beach instead of north, away from it. 'Number 26' on the map illustrates only the former location of the Beach Hotel, which had burned down over two years before the hurricane, and there is no mention of it elsewhere in the book.

Page 7 - the author describes Joseph Cline as an "assistant observer", but the 1900 Galveston City Directory lists him as the 'Chief Clerk' at the local Weather Bureau office.

Page 9 - it is stated, "...the Levy Building, a four - story brick building....." This is in error since the Levy Building has five stories. See http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM8D8H_Levy_ES_Building_Galveston_Texas

Page 9 - it is stated, "Cuba's own weather observers, who had pioneered hurricane detection, disagreed." As seen later on page 102, 'weather observers' should be 'meteorologists' and 'detection' should be 'prediction'.

Page 10 - it is stated, concerning the Texas Gulf Coast, "Again, nothing especially worrisome. Tropical storms came ashore every summer." This is in error since nothing of the sort happened "every summer" circa 1900 nor does it happen today. Thunderstorms yes, tropical storms no. And tropical storms that do make landfall in Texas are worrisome today, as they also were circa 1900, since rainfall may be intense and prolonged, winds may be near - hurricane speed, and the threat of flooding and tornadoes is significant. On page 88, the author does allude to 1979's Tropical Storm Claudette and its record - breaking rainfall on the Texas Gulf Coast, but note also that in June 2001, Tropical Storm Allison dumped an especially worrisome 40" of rain on Houston, Texas, over a week's time, after which floodwaters in parts of the city were 30' deep. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_Storm_Allison

Pages 15 - 16 - it is stated that, in 1891, Isaac was the "father of three", which is in error since his third child wasn't born until 1894. See page 71.

Page 19 - 'carbon' should be 'carbon dioxide'.

Page 19 - There is no hydrogen in the atmosphere except in small parts per million (0.6 ppm on average)

Page 21 - 'unslacked' lime should be 'unslaked'

Page 24 - "reducing its weight" should be 'reducing its density'

Page 26 - 'different' is spelled with 3 f's

Page 56 - it is stated, "The arriving winds lowered pressure." By itself, this statement is in error; it is because of lowered pressure caused by departing winds that other winds are arriving in the first place. The author tells only part of the story here; without the rest of the story, arriving winds would instead raise pressure. For the full explanation of how pressure is lowered, refer to the comments pertaining to page 113, as well as http://www.hurricanescience.org/science/science/hurricanegenesis/ and http://www.hurricanescience.org/science/science/development/

Page 56 - it is stated, "On Tuesday, August 28, the storm overtook a ship located about three hundred nautical miles southeast of Monday's first sighting." This statement is in error. The map of the storm track near the front of the book on page ix indicates that the storm at this time was moving in a straight line nearly due west. The ship in question would then have been about 500 miles behind the storm if it were indeed "southeast of Monday's first sighting", and the storm could not possibly have overtaken it as described.

Page 64 - "He was by now" should be 'He was by then'.

Page 70 - Willis Moore is described as 'balding'. His official NOAA photograph and others seem to indicate otherwise. See http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/pers0040.htm

Page 71 - 'geneology' should be 'genealogy'

Page 73 - 'Weather service' should be 'Weather Service'

Page 88 - it is stated, "The faster the wind blows, the more vapor it picks up...." This statement is in error since the wind (air) can 'pick up' only so much water vapor at ambient temperature before reaching saturation (100% humidity), after which it cannot absorb any more water vapor, no matter its velocity. Note, however, that this limit pertains only to water vapor; entrained liquid water in the form of mist, spindrift, or other types of droplets has no physical limit other than that posed by the wind velocity, and indeed such entrainment contributes significantly toward heat transfer within the hurricane. See http://www.hurricanescience.org/science/science/hurricaneandocean/

Page 96 - 'neighborhoods' is missing the 'b'

Page 99 - 'trowel' should be 'powder tray' or 'flashpot' or 'flashlamp' See http://seriouslyphotography.com/tag/flashlamp/

Page 102 - it is stated, "Cuba's meteorologists had pioneered the art of hurricane prediction...", a repeat of information already related in essence, albeit with different and incorrect phraseology, on page 9.

Page 107 - 'forboding' should be 'foreboding'

Page 109 - Wednesday, September 5, 1900. It is stated, "Nothing in the reports from the Weather Bureau indicated conditions capable of threatening a modern steamship - there was no reference at all to gales or cyclones, no indication whatsoever that the storm could be a hurricane, or even had the potential to become one." This statement is partly in error. The Weather Bureau report for 11:20 a.m., September 5, 1900, as found on page 11 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, states, "Vessels bound for Florida and Cuban ports should exercise caution as storm likely to become dangerous". The weather report of the same date, as seen in the Galveston Daily News, stated, as of September 4th, "Advise eastward bound vessels that high winds may be expected over east gulf and Florida coast during the next two days." See also items s) and t) in 'Conflicts and Potential Errors'.

Page 110 - It is stated, "To Halsey, it was fine, brisk day to be at sea." This sentence is missing an 'a' between 'was' and 'fine'.

Pages 112 and 116 - it is stated on page 112 that "the storm and its expanding cyclonic system now influenced a territory covering a million square miles of ocean and began to shape the weather in the southern United States". This as the storm had just passed over Cuba. Both statements are in error. The entire Gulf of Mexico is about 700,000 square miles; that of the entire Caribbean Sea is about 1 million square miles, but the large majority of this composite 1.7 million square mile area was by then either south, east, or far southwest of the 1900 storm. The ocean area so influenced by the storm could thus have been no more than 500,000 square miles, if that. On page 116 it is stated that "Blocked by one of the high - pressure zones, it executed an abnormal left turn". (Note: 'left' is 'westward' and not particularly abnormal.) High - pressure 'zones' (domes) are enormous, much larger in area than a hurricane, which, for a 300 mile - wide hurricane as the 1900 Galveston Hurricane probably was, may be no more than around 70,000 square miles. A hurricane cannot penetrate such a dome of high pressure and so has little to no effect on it, or on its weather within. See http://www.hurricanescience.org/science/science/hurricanemovement/

Page 112 - Referring to the 1900 hurricane as it left Cuba, the author states, "a storm that had just crossed the great mass of Cuba without losing any of its size or energy". This is in error at least in part, as all tropical weather systems are adversely affected by passage over large areas of land, due to interfacial friction, drag, and diminished access to their fuel source, warm water. Significant weakening is always noted when such a storm passes over a mountainous land area as large as Cuba, even through the storm's physical size may be unaffected. In 1998, the powerful Category 5 Hurricane Mitch weakened to a Category 1 hurricane after encountering numerous Caribbean islands in quick succession. See http://www.answers.com/Q/How_do_hurricanes_weaken_and_dissipate

Page 113 - it is stated, "At the storm's center, centrifugal force had come to play - the same force that flings children off the rims of playground carousels."

  • The term should be 'come into play'; the 'in' is missing
  • There is actually no such thing as centrifugal force, though misuse of the term is quite common, even among professional meteorologists. The phenomenon described by the author is inertia, which is the tendency of a body in motion to remain in linear motion. What the author describes as 'centrifugal force' is thus merely the inertia of linear motion. Scientifically speaking, 'centrifugal force' is not a true force, but merely an indicator of the absence of centripetal force, which is a true force and is the force that keeps an object moving along a circular path, in direct opposition to 'centrifugal force'. See http://www.diffen.com/difference/Centrifugal_Force_vs_Centripetal_Force

Page 113 - it is stated, "The winds spiraling toward the storm's center now traveled at such a high rate of speed, they began to generate centrifugal force that sought to push them back out again. Where the inrushing and outpushing forces balanced, the winds began to form a circle, a gigantic carousel over the ocean."

  • It has already been established that centrifugal force does not exist and is thus not responsible for the 'outpushing' of the 'inrushing' air. Again, that phenomenon is merely the inertia of linear motion.
  • The formation of the 'circle' and 'carousel' so described are due to the Coriolis Effect, which is caused by the Earth's rotation as discussed on pages 49 - 50. The tropical cyclone that exited Cuba on September 5th was by definition already in circulation or else it wouldn't have been a cyclone.
  • The balancing of the 'inrushing' and 'outpushing' forces described is much more complicated than described by the author and involves several other variables. Refer to http://www.hurricanescience.org/science/science/primarycirculation/ but substitute 'inertia of motion' for 'centrifugal force'.
  • The author describes all this as if it were a simple 2 - D model of 'inrushing' and 'outpushing' air, whereas it is actually a complex 3 - D model. Missing is the all - important lifting mechanism mentioned later on page 121 and described at http://www.hurricanescience.org/science/science/development/
  • Here we find: Since the conversion of heat energy to mechanical energy drives the hurricane's secondary circulation, a hurricane can be treated as a heat engine. For the engine to continue working, air must flow into the system (the hurricane) at a higher temperature than it exits the system. As long as the air parcels can rise in the eyewall and then spiral outward at the tropopause faster than other air parcels can spiral inward towards the eyewall in the lower troposphere, the central pressure in the developing hurricane will fall. A falling central pressure is one way to measure how much a hurricane is intensifying. Increasing winds increase the transfer of heat from the ocean, creating a positive feedback. When the central pressure falls, air parcels begin to spiral inward towards the eyewall faster to fill the vacuum. If the air parcels spiral inward faster, then the maximum wind speed will increase. Increasing maximum wind speed is another way to measure how much a hurricane is intensifying (more intense hurricanes have faster maximum sustained winds). Eventually, a hurricane may reach a near steady state (in theory), where the heat energy coming in from the ocean is balanced by the energy lost to frictional dissipation in the atmosphere.

Page 121 - it is stated, "Air within the eyewall rises with so much force it literally lifts the surface of the sea.....". This statement is in error. Due to the relatively low pressure within the eye, the atmosphere above the waters not within the eye simply pushes the water level within the eye to a height where the static forces inside of and outside of the eye balance. The 'force' of the rising air has nothing to do with this; the air is 'inrushing' and rising for the same reason that the water level within the eye rises - both air and water flow from areas of high pressure toward an area of low pressure. This phenomenon is the same as sucking water from a glass through a straw - the pressure then inside your mouth is less than atmospheric, a vacuum, and so the higher atmospheric pressure simply forces the water through the straw into your mouth. In both cases, water is being pushed, not pulled.

Pages 128/129 and subsequent entries - the "two million pounds" referred to here, presumably the "1,069 - ton" mentioned on page 126, is not the weight of the Pensacola. Unless specifically defined otherwise, the default definition of a ship's tonnage is 'deadweight tonnage', or DWT, defined as follows: "Deadweight tonnage is the weight (in tons) of all the cargo, fuel, dry provisions, supplies, etc. carried on board the ship. In other words, it is the "displacement tonnage" of the vessel minus the "lightweight tonnage". Deadweight tonnage is a good indication for ship owners and clients of how much revenue the vessel is capable of generating", hence its popularity of use. 'Lightweight tonnage' is what the author was thinking of, defined as: "Lightweight tonnage is best described as the weight of the ship when it was built in the shipyard including all framing, machinery, decking, etc." Note that the 'tonnage' of ULCC (ultra large crude carriers) can be as high as 500,000 tons, which is assuredly not the weight of the ship itself. See http://www.themaritimesite.com/a - guide - to - understanding - ship - weight - and - tonnage - measurements/

Page 141 - the author states, "John Blagden, the observer assigned to Galveston on temporary duty, reported spending much of Saturday answering telephone calls from worried civilians, but it is by no means clear that he conveyed to these callers any great sense of danger", whereas what John Blagden actually wrote was, "We were busy all day Thursday answering telephone calls about it and advising people to prepare for danger". See http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=1106 and pages 15 - 19 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts. It must be noted that John Blagden's account contains at least one chronological error; he states that the storm occurred on Friday night instead of Saturday night. However, the Galveston Daily News of September 13, 1900, quotes Isaac Cline as to what was allegedly told the panicked populace who did manage to inquire about the storm on the morning of September 8th (and possibly earlier) and it certainly seems clear: "The tropical storm is now in the gulf south or southeast of us; the winds will shift to the northeast, east and probably to the southeast by morning, increasing in energy. If you live in low parts of the city move to high grounds. Prepare for the worst, which is yet to come."

See comments for page 167 in 'Conflicts and Potential Errors', concerning another of the author's accounts about the Galveston Weather Bureau's answering of telephones on Saturday, September 8, 1900.

Page 141 - It is stated, "Many residents said the storm came utterly without warning. None had the slightest inkling that it might be a hurricane." Items o), s), to some extent, t), and especially v) in 'Conflicts and Potential Errors' contradict these statements. It is also stated that a survivor, Sarah Davis Hawley, said on Saturday morning, "we weren't at all apprehensive." In the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, several survivors state that many Galvestonians habitually ignored any storm warnings put out by the Weather Bureau, regardless of their severity. Several survivors' accounts recollect the 1875 and 1886 hurricanes, and state that weather conditions observed Saturday morning were similar to those observed for the other two storms. Ben C. Stuart's narrative on page 96 of 'Through a Night of Horrors' is outstanding in this regard and he relates a capsule summary of why so many Galvestonians were seemingly indifferent to the approaching hurricane of 1900. He states, for example, "There had been high waters before, notably in 1875 and 1886, when the effect was mainly discomfort and wrecked fences."

Thus, most Galvestonians were probably aware of the storm's status as a strong tropical storm or hurricane by Saturday morning, but probably also thought it would pose no more of a threat than had other hurricanes previously experienced. Indeed, there is a joking reference made by survivor Geneva Dibrell Scholes that a newcomer to Galveston "would eventually get used to our "Big Blows"." But, as John Blagden ruefully concedes on this page, speaking for pretty much everyone in Galveston, "The storm was more severe than we expected."

Page 141 - it is stated, "Another survivor, R. Wilbur Goodman, spent Saturday morning swimming and chatting with friends at the YMCA, and went home on what proved to be the last trolley of the day. The car was crowded, but "there was no talk of the storm."" According to the source material referenced by the author, there is no mention of Mr. Goodman swimming and chatting with friends, or of the trolley car being crowded, and the actual quote is "there was no talk of the approaching storm." See also comments for page 168.

Page 141 - Saturday, September 8, 1900. It is stated, concerning the Weather Bureau, "its forecasters had failed to identify the storm as a hurricane..." Refer to items s) and t) in 'Conflicts and Potential Errors', where it is seen that the Weather Bureau was apparently thinking 'hurricane' well before September 8th. In item t), where could this Galveston newspaper reference to an actual hurricane, and not a 'tropical storm', have come from on September 7th if not from the Weather Bureau?

Page 142 - the author relates a story about a man beheaded in a railroad accident near Galveston's wharf the week before the hurricane. The following statements are made:

  • Police found the head.
  • The head was found atop an axle housing of a railcar.
  • On page 292, this story is referenced to have been in the newspaper 'News' of September 8, 1900.
  • This same issue contained two stories of the incident, the first relating the accident and death and the other relating the finding of the head and identification of the victim. The author states, "The editors ran both stories, four pages apart."

There are a number of errors in this account. Checking the September 2, 1900 issue of the Galveston Daily News, one finds the following:

  • Railroad workers found the head, not the police.
  • The head was found by the side of the tracks, although it had initially been deposited atop one of the railcar 'trucks' before becoming dislodged. See http://mrr.trains.com/~/media/import/files/pdf/4/c/c/mr_pi_5 - 06_freightcartrucks.ashx
  • The actual name of the newspaper referenced is 'Galveston Daily News', although it frequently referred to itself simply as 'News'.
  • The first story appeared on page 3 of the September 2, 1900 issue, not that of September 8; the second story appeared on page 8, making them five pages apart, not four.

Page 146 and subsequent entries - the author relates the story of storm survivor Louise Hopkins and the trials of her family during the storm. However, 'Hopkins' didn't become her surname until 1914, when she married; her maiden name and the family name during the time of the storm was 'Bristol' (or 'Bristoll'), as per the account of survivor Mary Louise Bristol Hopkins, found on pages 170 - 173 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts.

Page 147 and subsequent entries - the author refers to the mother of Louise 'Hopkins' as Mrs. 'Hopkins'. This is in error since her mother's surname at the time was Bristol and never had been and never was going to become 'Hopkins', as she never remarried. See comments for page 146 and http://www.findagrave.com/cgi - bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=134132280 and http://www.findagrave.com/cgi - bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=82293931

Page 147 - the author states that Lois, the sister of Louise 'Hopkins', "was one year older than she". This is in error since Lois was born in 1885 and Louise was born in 1893. See http://www.findagrave.com/cgi - bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=80751094 and http://www.findagrave.com/cgi - bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=82293931

Page 148 - the author identifies a "Walter W. Davis", but pages 45 - 49 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, definitively identify his first name as 'Walker', not 'Walter'.

Page 155 - it is stated, "Rabbi Cohen......lived about a mile from the Gulf....". This statement is in error, as the Cohens lived at 1924 Broadway, which was at most a half - mile from the Gulf, to the south down 19th Street. Going east on Broadway, it was about three - quarters of a mile to the Gulf. See http://www.mapquest.com/search/results?page=0¢erOnResults=1&slug=%2Fus%2Ftx%2Fgalveston%2F77550 - 4618%2F1924 - broadway - st - 29.301226, - 94.787939&query=1924%20Broadway%20St,%20Galveston,%20TX%2077550 - 4618

Page 158 and subsequent entries - "Ritter's Café and Saloon" was actually named 'Ritter's Saloon and Restaurant' as per the 1900 Galveston City Directory.

Pages 158/159/167 - location of Ritter's Saloon and Restaurant was 2109 Strand (Avenue B), not on Mechanic Street as stated. See http://gravematters - greg.blogspot.com/2010/08/gruetzmacher - print - shop - on - strand.html

Page 158 - the author identifies a 'Henry' Dreckschmidt, whereas both the official list of 1900 storm fatalities and the 1900 Galveston City Directory list him as 'Hermann'. See http://www.gthcenter.org/exhibits/storms/1900/victims/vicD.htm

Page 158 - the author identifies a business by the name of "Mildenberg's Wholesale Notions", but the 1900 Galveston City Directory lists this business simply as 'Arthur Mildenberg'. According to the business section of this directory, 'Notions' were only a part of the business.

Page 159 - "beams supporting the ceiling" is in error. In multistory buildings, each floor is supported independently of all others, and the ceilings of each floor are self - supported as part of that floor's structure. A ceiling is independent of the floor above it, and there is often a crawl space in between them. What happened at Ritter's Saloon and Restaurant was that the supports of the second floor were moved away by the "blast effect", allowing the second floor to fall through the ceiling of the first floor.

Page 159 - "....his office was a block and a half away". This statement is in error, as the Levy Building, located at 23rd and Market, was four blocks away from Ritter's Saloon and Restaurant, which was located at 21st and Strand. See http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM8D8H_Levy_ES_Building_Galveston_Texas and http://gravematters - greg.blogspot.com/2010/08/gruetzmacher - print - shop - on - strand.html

Page 165 - it is stated, "By the time Poe arrived, nearly two hundred people were inside the lighthouse." Later in the same paragraph it is stated, "When he looked up through the murk, he saw two hundred people staring down....."

Page 166 - it is stated, "....the waves that slammed against the lighthouse as the water rose within its base and drove the two hundred refugees ever higher...." As per page 165, there were either "nearly two hundred people" or "two hundred people" already in the lighthouse before the ten who had fled the train arrived. So, on page 166, there should now be 'more than two hundred people' in the lighthouse.

Page 167 and subsequent entries - the section header "25th and Q" is technically in error since Isaac Cline's house was not located at the corner of 25th St. and Avenue Q. See comments concerning pages x - xi.

Page 167 - it is stated, "And he had seen the remains of Ritter's with his own eyes." However, on page 159, it is stated, regarding the destruction of Ritter's Saloon and Restaurant, "Crowds of businessmen converged on Mechanic Street to see for themselves. Isaac came, no doubt..." This is a postulated event (page 159) becoming a certain event (page 167).

Page 168 - it is stated, "R. Wilbur Goodman took the last trolley of the day toward the beach and heard no talk of the storm among his fellow passengers." Note the following:

  • This information is essentially repeated from page 141.
  • On page 141, Mr. Goodman was said to be taking the trolley home. On this page, he is said to be taking the trolley toward the beach. However, on page 164 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, it is stated that the Goodman family lived at 2816 Broadway, which was nowhere near the beach. Checking the source referenced by the author, one finds, "I spent Saturday morning at the Y.M.C.A. and I returned home on the last trolley car that was going south on 27th St. and even at that late date there was no talk of the approaching storm. I told a cousin of mine good - by as I got off at Broadway. He continued south and that night he perished in the storm." So it is seen that, while Mr. Goodman's cousin was traveling "toward the beach", Mr. Goodman himself was not.

Page 170 - it is stated, "Credo had eleven children in all, but two daughters now had families of their own and lived elsewhere." However, the 1900 Galveston City Directory indicates that son William Credo boarded at 1511 Avenue N, and so also 'lived elsewhere' and not with his parents and other siblings as inferred by the author.

Page 171 - 'familes' should be 'families'

Page 178 - it is stated, "Until then the wind had blown consistently from the north, the weaker left flank of the hurricane." This statement is in error since the north wind was coming from the right front flank of the westward - moving hurricane, the more powerful 'dirty' side for hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere, which rotate counterclockwise. Since the eye of the storm passed well to the south of Galveston, winds from the "weaker left flank of the hurricane" would never have reached Galveston at all.

Page 180 - narrow pipes in a city water system do not increase water pressure as stated. Pascal's Principle states that a pressure applied to a fluid system at rest is felt throughout the entire system. This means that, regardless of pipe diameter, city pressure is felt everywhere. Decreasing pipe diameter will only reduce the flow rate of the water, due to more head (pressure) loss due to friction when the water moves. See http://www.answers.com/Q/Does_decreasing_pipe_diameter_increase_water_pressure and http://www.irrigationtutorials.com/using - a - smaller - pipe - to - increase - water - pressure/

Page 182 - It is stated, "Her brother, Mason, fourteen years old, was still not home." This is in error since Mason 'Hopkins' (Bristol) was born in January of 1879 and was thus nearly twenty - two years old (and engaged) at the time of the hurricane. See http://www.findagrave.com/cgi - bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=bristol&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSst=46&GScnty=2603&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GRid=126873333&df=all&

Page 193 - It is stated "The storm's track intersected Galveston's coastline at a ninety - degree angle...", but shortly thereafter on page 197 it is stated, "The Galveston hurricane struck the Texas coast head - on, at a nearly perfect ninety - degree angle...".

Page 193 - it is stated, "The Levy Building was four stories tall", a repeat of erroneous information first reported on page 9.

Page 200 - a cubic yard of seawater weighs about 1730 pounds, not 1500. See http://wow - really.blogspot.com/2006/11/one - cubic - yard - of - ocean - weighs - more.html

Page 200 - it is stated that a wave 50' long and 10' high would weigh over 80,000 pounds, but there is a dimension (width) missing, without which it is not possible to derive this weight. Backcalculating results in a wave 2.5' wide, which is unlikely, as waves would more or less be an equilateral triangle in cross - section. A more likely weight for such a 'triangular' wave 50' long and 10' high would be about 180,000 pounds. See https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070717122724AAzwbyq

Page 200 - it is stated, "....it generated forward momentum of over two million pounds....". 'Momentum' is defined as mass x velocity, so the units of momentum are not 'pounds' as stated. Momentum in this case is 80,000 pounds x 44 ft/sec (30 mph) = 3,520,000 lb - ft/sec. What is "over two million" (2.4 million, actually) of something (not pounds) is kinetic energy, ½mv2, the units of which are in foot - pounds. Note that, with a wave of 180,000 pounds instead of 80,000 pounds, the kinetic energy at 30 miles per hour (44 ft/sec) would be 5.4 million foot - pounds. See http://www.1728.org/energy.htm

Page 212 - the author relates a dramatic and despairing narrative describing the ordeal of the 'Hopkins' (Bristol) family during the hurricane: "They saw Mr. Dau carry the lantern out his front door and down the steps. Leaving - the man was leaving. Like a ship captain ignoring a lifeboat adrift." However, on page 172 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, the actual narrative is found to be considerably different and positively anticlimactic. Therein, Louise 'Hopkins' wrote, "...we saw Mr. Dau come out of his house with the lantern. We called to him and I remember my brother saying "My God, you're not leaving us now!" He said, "I'm going down to see about my cow.""

Page 215 - "plane of devastation"; 'plane' should be 'plain'. See page 235 for "plain of lumber".

Page 216 - beginning on page 213, the author describes the ordeal of August Rollfing in his attempt to reunite with his family after the storm had passed. His encounters with various others are described in no small detail, but once he finally locates his family at his sister's house (on page 216) the author gives the reader the impression that August came alone. On page 110 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, we find, in Louisa Rollfing's own words, "At 4 o'clock someone pounded on the front door, and in came August and his brother, Fred." The author never mentions the brother.

Page 219 - A dramatic scene is described in which Joseph plucks a small girl from the sea while on the raft, thinking she was his niece, but, according to Isaac's own story reported in the 'Special Report on the Galveston Hurricane of September 8, 1900', they saved both a small girl and a woman, as seen in this excerpt, "Mr. J. L. Cline joined me five minutes later with my other two children, and with them and a woman and child we picked up from the raging waters." The author never mentions the woman. See http://www.history.noaa.gov/stories_tales/cline2.html. It should be noted that the Galveston Daily News of September 17, 1900, reported a third version of this story, significantly different from these other two; who knows which version, if any, is correct?

Page 227 - the author identifies Brigadier General Thomas Scurry as the "adjutant general of the Texas Volunteer Guard", whereas his actual title at the time was 'adjutant general of Texas', as documented on page 86 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts. The Galveston Daily News of September 12, 1900, did refer to General Scurry as being the 'adjutant general of the Texas Volunteer Guard', but that was inaccurate. See http://texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org/1940/adjgen2.htm

Page 227 and subsequent entries - "McKibben" is actually spelled 'McKibbin'. See http://www.findagrave.com/cgi - bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=mckibbin&GSfn=chambers&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=57193026&df=all&

Page 227 - the author identifies General 'McKibben' (McKibbin) as the "commander of the Texas Department of the U.S. Army", whereas his actual title at the time was 'commander of the Department of Texas', as documented in both the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, and the Galveston Daily News.

Page 235 - the author quotes the mother of Louise 'Hopkins' (actually Bristol, not Hopkins; see comments for pages 146 - 147) as stating, "Oh God, why couldn't we all have gone with it?" while surveying the damage to her boardinghouse on September 9th, the day after the storm. The original source material, quoted on page 172 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, indicates that this statement was made when severe damage to the house was incurred during the height of the storm, not the day after. What was actually reported to have been said by Mrs. 'Hopkins' (Bristol) on September 9th was "Here goes the mortgage."

Page 239 - 'subcomittees' should be 'subcommittees'.

Page 243 - the author describes an ad for the 'Collier Packet Company', which, according to the Friday, September 14, 1900 issue of the Galveston Daily News (identified by the author simply as 'News') was actually the Collier Racket Company.

Page 243 - Discussing the death list in the September 14, 1900 issue of the Galveston Daily News, the author states that the storm "pruned to a stalk the family tree of the Rattiseau clan, killing Mrs. J. C. Rattiseau and her three children, J. B. Rattiseau, his wife, and four children, and C. A. Rattiseau, his wife, and seven children." However, if one checks this newspaper of the date given, the first Friday after the storm, one finds listed only a Mrs. W. L. Rattiseau and three children, none of whom are identified by the author. The death list of the Monday, September 17th issue of this newspaper contains more Rattiseaus than are identified on page 243, and the final death list of October 7th contains no less than seven branches of the Rattiseau clan, comprising a total of 34 Rattiseaus, instead of merely19, who were killed in the storm.

Page 243 - Discussing the death list in the September 14, 1900 issue of the Galveston Daily News, the author states, "The list included a man named Pilford of the Mexican Cable Company and his four children. The place of death, the entry said, was "Twenty - fifth and Q." Isaac's corner. Perhaps even his house." This statement is in error since Isaac Cline's house was not located at the corner of Twenty - fifth and Q. See comments for pages 167 and x - xi.

There were, of course, four corners at the intersection of Twenty-fifth and Q, although the author seems to imply there was but one. Consulting the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of 1899, one finds that only the NW and SW corners were residences; the NE and SE corners were businesses, the SE corner, 2427 Avenue Q, being a corner grocery owned by a Mr. Emanuel Lera, who also lived on the premises. According to the 1900 Galveston City Directory, the Pilfords lived at 2720 Avenue Q, or about 2 blocks west of Isaac Cline at 2511 Avenue Q.

Note also that the 1900 Galveston City Directory lists Mr. William S. Pilford as being a "cable operator of the Mexican Telegraph Company", although the description of Mr. Pilford found in the Death List of the Galveston Daily News matches that given by the author.

Page 257 - the author states that Cora Cline's remains were found on September 30, 1900. However, an article in the October 4, 1900 issue of the Galveston Daily News reports that her remains had instead been found the day before, on October 3rd.

Page 259 - it is stated, "....it had toppled one of the great pillars of Stonehenge that no wind had budged for ten thousand years." This statement is in error. Although prehistoric activity had ensued at the Stonehenge site at least 10,000 years ago, Stonehenge as we know it today, with the "great pillars", is only about 5,000 years old. Prior to that, wood had been used instead of stone. See http://www.history.com/news/settlement - in - stonehenge - area - goes - back - 10000 - years, http://www.stonehenge.co.uk/about.php and http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/stonehenge/stonehenge.php

Page 265 - "11 million pounds of fill"; 'pounds' should be 'cubic yards'. See http://www.gthcenter.org/exhibits/graderaising/Manuscripts/Cheesborough/FF1 - 1/16.htm

Page 269 - It is stated that Willis Moore was fired, subsequent to evidence of malfeasance produced by Isaac Cline on April 1, 1913. However, the NYT of March 23, 1913, states that Moore was asked to resign on March 22, 1913, and his last day in office was to be July 31, 1913. (He was subsequently fired on April 16th due to the extent and severity of his malfeasance.) These revelations, of course, negate the 'April Fools' Day' narrative found on this page. See http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9C03E1D8133BE633A25750C2A9659C946296D6CF and http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9907E3DB1F3AE633A25754C1A9629C946296D6CF

Page 271 - Isaac Cline opened a small art and antique shop (The Art House) at 633 St. Peter Street, not on 'Peter Street'. See http://www.neworleansbar.org/uploads/files/FatefulForecasts.6 - 9.pdf and http://www.artnet.com/artists/willie - lucille - reed - rowe/the - art - house - 633 - saint - peter - street - rcQPqk - 3udzNNeSnmRNmcQ2

Page 272 - an error of omission. Among all of the other hurricanes that struck Galveston subsequent to the 1900 storm, the author fails to list the 1909 Galveston Hurricane, which was actually the new seawall's first test. Ironically, on page 271, the author does mention a different 1909 hurricane that struck Louisiana. See http://rosenberg - library.org/collections/gthc/online/exhibits/1909/1909.html

Page 272 - it is stated, concerning the date of Isaac Cline's death, "...August 3, 1955, at the age of ninety-three, just as Hurricane Connie emerged from the Caribbean." According to the Galveston Daily News of August 5, 1955, Hurricane Connie was then approximately 1,000 miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico, a location at which it had definitely not just "emerged from the Caribbean" and may not have even entered it on that date. Note also that on August 3, 1955, Connie was not yet a hurricane, and did not become one until August 5th. See http://www.homefacts.com/hurricane-detail/Connie-1955-AL021955.html. Isaac's obituary in this same newspaper listed his age as 94, not ninety-three, and the former is more accurate than the latter. See comments for page 7 in 'Conflicts and Potential Errors'.

Page 273 - it is inferred that St. Mary's Orphanage used to occupy the space now occupied by a Wal - Mart on the seawall. This is simply not possible. On page 8, it is stated that this orphanage was located "at the very edge of the sea". On page 212, it is stated that the orphanage was located "just north of the tide line". The map of Galveston at the front of the book shows that a good 100' of beach was eroded by the storm. Coupling this with the facts that the Wal - Mart in question is a good 200' inside the seawall and that the original location of the orphanage as described must have been outside of where the seawall now is, one is left to conclude that the orphanage must have been at least 300' east or southeast of the present Wal - Mart, a position now under the Gulf waters. These two building locations may share essentially the same latitude, but their longitudes must be several hundred feet apart. See http://www.walmart.com/store/504?edit_object_id=504 and https://www.google.com/maps/dir/29.301111, - 94.797501/29.264809, - 94.832726/@29.2820339, - 94.8304935,14z/data=!3m1!4b1


Conflicts and Potential Errors

The critical portions of the timeline for the 1900 Galveston Hurricane as found mainly in the book run thus:

  1. August 31 - Page 87 - "The storm entered the Caribbean Sea...."
  2. September 1 - Page 107 - Stockman qualifies the "tropical storm then making its way over Cuba" as being of "moderate intensity (not a hurricane)"
  3. September 4 - Pages 101/131 - Dr. Young stated that "a cyclone might be churning in the sea somewhere south of Florida, perhaps Cuba", and later wrote, "He agreed with me but said his office had received no notice of anything of the kind"
  4. September 5 - Page 111 - the storm exits Cuba and enters the Straits of Florida to the north
  5. September 6 - Page 114 - Moore's telegram to the fishermen reinforces the official position that "the bureau was still convinced the storm was barreling north."
  6. September 6 - Page 123 - "The tropical storm was centered over Florida."
  7. September 7 - Pages 9/10 - Isaac received a telegram advising "of a tropical storm centered in the Gulf of Mexico south of Louisiana, "moving slowly northwest"...... Until now, Moore's cables had expressed absolute confidence the storm was moving north..."
  8. September 7 - Page 108 - "Between....Monday, September 3, and Friday ....Santiago received over...24 inches of rain..."
  9. September 7 - Page 127 - "The Atlantic theory had been a compelling one....."
  10. September 7 - Page 127 - "The bureau's forecasters....now seemed to think it was still in the Gulf, moving toward the northwest."
  11. September 7 - Page 127 - "At 9:35 A.M....Willis Moore telegraphed Isaac with an order to hoist a conventional storm warning."
  12. September 7 - Page 131 - "Friday night....the bureau had not yet acknowledged that the storm was a tropical cyclone."
  13. September 8 - Page 9 - "For days....Isaac had been receiving cables....describing a storm apparently of tropical origin that had drenched Cuba."
  14. September 8 - Page 143 - As reported in the Galveston Daily News, the Weather Bureau now believed the tropical storm in the Gulf "instead of moving north, had changed its course and was moving toward the northwest."
  15. September 10 - a personal letter by John Blagden (not found in the book, but referenced therein) to his family contains the following verbiage: "We had warning of the storm and many saved themselves by seeking safety before the storm reached here. We were busy all day Thursday answering telephone calls about it and advising people to prepare for danger." See http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=1106, page 19 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, and comments for page 141 in 'Errors'.
  16. September 13 - Page 114 - Colonel Dunwoody says "a cyclone has just occurred in Galveston which no meteorologist predicted"
  17. September 13 - this article (not found in the book) from the New York Times, http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/topics/galveston/courseofhurricane - 9.11.1900.pdf, clearly indicates that there was no mystery at all to their readership as to where the 1900 hurricane originated or what the storm's track was
  18. 1920's - Page 35 - "Two decades later the bureau would assign Frankenfield the task of figuring out where the great hurricane of 1900 had come from."
  19. September 4 - 8 - On page 94 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, there is an account by Ben C. Stuart, who worked at the newspaper Galveston Daily News at the time of the 1900 hurricane, concerning warnings received from the Weather Bureau prior to the storm. He states, "On September 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th 1900, warnings were sent out by the Weather Bureau at Washington that a West Indian hurricane was prevailing in the Gulf and cautioning ship masters against proceeding to sea."
  20. September 8 - Concerning the weather content of the newspaper Galveston Daily News of September 8, 1900, the author states, on page 142, "They found the first weather story on page 2 - a report about a storm that had struck the Florida coast." However, this page 2 'weather story' contained germane information not mentioned by the author, content that positively identified the storm as a 'Tropical Hurricane' in the article, which had a September 7 dateline and was titled 'STORM ON FLORIDA COAST'. The story's subtitle reads 'Tropical Hurricane From Jamaica Struck There On Wednesday', indicating that as early as September 5th, the storm then in the Gulf had already been identified as a hurricane.
  21. September 8 - The author again references the September 8th issue of the Galveston Daily News on page 143, quoting the pertinent weather content on page 10 of the newspaper. However, he fails to quote the content of the last paragraph, which contains the revelatory qualification, "The storm is of West Indian origin".
  22. September 8 and earlier - The book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, contains several other accounts similar to those of John Blagden in o) and Ben C. Stuart in s) above, in that the storm's status as a hurricane was known by many on or before the morning of September 8th. Among these accounts are found:
    1. Page 20, by George Hodson - "The weather bureau predicted a severe storm, coming from Cuba and West Indies, on Thursday...."
    2. Page 56, by Joseph Henry Hawley - "I was apprised very early on the day of the 8th of the likelihood of the great storm..."
    3. Page 118, by Arnold R. Wolfram - "Saturday, September 8, 1900 dawned as any other morning, however anxiety was in every heart and apprehension as to what the day would bring forth. Storm warnings had been posted for several days and everyone was urged to prepare."
    4. Page 163, by William Mason Bristol ('Hopkins') - "We knew there was a storm coming..."
    5. Page 180, by Katherine Vedder Pauls - "On Friday afternoon, September 7, about five o'clock, we all stood on a little northeast gallery off the dining room. My father had heard that day in town of a hurricane in the Gulf and all scanned the sky for some sign of the approaching storm."
      • Item a) appears to be in conflict with b), given that the storm seems to have taken only a single day to cross the Caribbean Sea and make its way well into Cuba, whereas it is a 4 day period between b) and d).
      • Item c) must be in error, given the content of b) and m).
      • Item g) - The author never reveals or even speculates as to what must have happened between September 6 and 7 to cause Willis Moore to send Isaac Cline the telegram that advised of a tropical storm in the central Gulf of Mexico, but here he directly infers that the storm in the Gulf of Mexico was by then thought to be the same storm as had just the day before been "barreling north" from Cuba as seen in e) and f).
      • Item h) must be in error, as the storm had exited Cuba two days earlier per d) and by September 7 there was no longer a source of heavy rain in far eastern Cuba.
      • Item k) conflicts with g)
      • Item l) conflicts with g)
      • Item o) conflicts with e), f), g), k), l), and p), as well as the gist of the narrative of September 8 as found in the book on pages 141 - 143.
      • Item p) conflicts with g), i), j), n), and q)
      • Item q) conflicts with most everything said in the book about the Weather Bureau, in regard to the 1900 hurricane
      • Item r) conflicts with g), i), j), n), q), s), and t), besides straining credulity.
      • Item s) generally matches John Blagden's narrative in item o) above, but conflicts with many of the other items listed and most everything said in the book about the Weather Bureau in regard to the 1900 hurricane. However, item s) is compatible with t), u), and v).
      • Item t) is in direct conflict with item l), which states, on page 131, "Friday night....the bureau had not yet acknowledged that the storm was a tropical cyclone." However, item t) is in agreement with item o) by John Blagden and item s) by Ben C. Stuart, and both men would have been in a position to know that by no later than Thursday, September 6th, the storm then in the central Gulf of Mexico was a full - blown hurricane. Item t) is also compatible with u) and v).
      • Item u) collides head - on with item r). Where could the information "The storm is of West Indian origin" have come from if not the Weather Bureau?
      • Item v) accounts are generally consistent with one another and with the unimpeachable accounts of John Blagden and Ben C. Stuart in items o) and s). Given all this, items c), k), l), p), and r) remain major conflicts. See also comments for page 141 in 'Errors'.

Page 7 and subsequent entries - it is stated, "Isaac was thirty - eight." Isaac Cline was born on October 13, 1861, and so was exactly 5 weeks shy of his 39th birthday on September 8, 1900. For all intents and purposes, he would have been considered to be 'thirty - nine' by his contemporaries. See http://www.findagrave.com/cgi - bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=cline&GSfn=isaac&GSbyrel=all&GSdy=1955&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=16221134&df=all&

Page 118 and subsequent entries - the author states that the winds of the 1900 hurricane reached an estimated 150 mph, but no authoritative reference can be found that supports this value. The Weather Bureau itself estimated top wind speed of the 1900 Hurricane at 120 mph (in Galveston proper), and other references state wind speeds no higher than 135 mph at any location.

Page 165 and subsequent entries - the author states that 85 passengers remained on the train and died. Other sources claim only 82 or 83 passengers remained.

Page 167 - Saturday morning, September 8, 1900. Concerning Isaac Cline, it is stated, "Now the telephone at the station rang incessantly. He heard fear in the voices...." There is no mention of John Blagden or anyone else taking calls, although on page 141 the author states that John Blagden "reported spending much of Saturday answering telephone calls". (See also comments for page 141 in 'Errors'.) Note the following:

  • On page 129 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, Harry L. Maxson reports "By noon, telephones and lights were out and all business at a standstill."
  • On page 169, the author indicates that the telephone system on the Strand was still working as late as 3:30 - 4 pm.
  • In the comments for page 141 in 'Errors', it is stated that John Blagden confused Saturday the 8th with Friday the 7th, concerning the day of the storm. Did he also make a mistake concerning the day of the many telephone calls? If he was off by a day concerning the storm, mistaking Saturday for Friday, then it stands to reason that he may have likewise mistaken Friday for Thursday, concerning the day of the many telephone calls. Friday, September 7th, being the day people were calling 'all day' about the storm meshes well with the narrative of Katherine Vedder Pauls in v) 5. - "On Friday afternoon, September 7....My father had heard that day in town of a hurricane in the Gulf...." Her narrative is most likely to be in reference to the content of Isaac Cline's article in the Galveston Daily News of September 13, 1900, wherein he stated, "...on the morning of the 7th....storm warnings were ordered up for Galveston."
  • If John Blagden was correct in stating that phones were answered 'all day', whatever day that was, then it likely wasn't Saturday, as the author has stated in his revision of John Blagden's narrative on page 141, since telephone service seems to have been unavailable to Galveston's outlying residents by noon on September 8th. Note that v) 3 supports John Blagden's original and unedited narrative.
  • In the Galveston Daily News of September 13, 1900, Isaac Cline states that on the morning of the 8th, "The telephone at the United States weather bureau office was busy until the wires went down." This is at least consistent with the author's revision of John Blagden's narrative on page 141. Isaac Cline makes no similar mention of telephone calls being received on Thursday or Friday, and so John Blagden's remark concerning the many incoming telephone calls on Thursday, September 6th, remains a paradox.

Page 179 - Numerous of Galveston's streets north of Broadway had and still have alternate names. 'Avenue B' is better known as the Strand, and 25th St is also known as Bath Avenue. On pages 7 and 167, the author references 25th St, but on pages 10 and 179, he references Bath Avenue instead. Other than the map on pages x - xi, and even there it is a very obscure reference, there is nothing in the book to indicate that Bath Avenue is the same street as 25th St.

Page 191 - "who has always always always resented Isaac's insufferable pose." Is this deliberate sentence structure?

Page 195 - "the wind picked up a board.....and hurled it with such velocity it pierced the Comino's hull....built of iron plates one inch thick." This claim is most likely an urban legend. Wind damage research conducted by the Texas Tech Civil Engineering department subsequent to the disastrous Lubbock tornado of May 1970 concluded that a 250 mph wind was capable of hurling a wood plank completely through a cinder block or brick wall. However, when the same wall was sheathed with steel plate only _ inch thick, no such penetration occurred. 'Safe rooms' built in houses in tornado country have since adopted this sheathing principle. See http://www.lifeofanarchitect.com/tornado - shelters - and - safe - rooms/. If the verbiage in question does somehow prove to be true, then it is more of a comment on the unsuitability of using relatively brittle iron plate for shipbuilding, instead of steel, than on the power of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, which was, after all, just an 'ordinary' Category 4 hurricane.

Page 202 - it is stated, "...Edward Quayle....happened to walk past a window just as the room underwent a catastrophic depressurization. The window exploded outward into the storm..." It is unclear as to how such a dramatic 'catastrophic depressurization' could have occurred during the 1900 hurricane since barometric pressure decreases slowly and steadily during a hurricane's progress, giving the atmospheric pressure contained inside of a building ample time to adjust to the decrease in pressure outside. During a strong hurricane such as the 1900 storm, one would expect windows to be blown in, not blown out.

Pages 226 - 227 - It is insinuated that William Sterett knew nothing about the severity of the hurricane that had struck Galveston. Since the 1900 storm passed directly over the DFW area after making landfall, and Sterett came from Dallas, how could he have known nothing of it? When Hurricane Carla followed virtually the same track in 1961, the DFW area experienced hurricane - force winds and torrential rain during its passage.

Page 232 - it is stated, "The hospitals had weathered the storm well." Yet, on page xi, location #3 on the map states, "Sealy Hospital, partly destroyed."

Page 233 - "Anthony Credo learned that he had lost nine members of his family." These would be 1) Vivian; 2, 3, 4) Irene and her two children; 5,6,7,8) Minnie, her husband, and two sons; and 9) William. However, findagrave.com lists a 9 - year - old girl, Virginia Credo, as also having died during the storm. Surely this girl was another relative. See http://www.findagrave.com/cgi - bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=credo&GSbyrel=all&GSdy=1900&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=128070730&df=all&

Page 237 - Anna Muat's corpse is reported as having been found and identified, but no one by that name is found on any list of the 1900 storm victims. Is it possible that the surname 'Muat' is a misspelling?

Page 256 - it is stated, "Ernest Kuhnel, the deserter, was dropped from the rolls." Kuhnel appears in the book only two other times; on page 246, it is stated, "Kuhnel had deserted" and on page 193, it is stated, "Ernest Kuhnel, a clerk, was supposed to be in the office but had fled the building in terror." No explanation or any detail of the 'desertion' is given, and one is left with the conclusion that fleeing one's place of employment during a hurricane must have been tantamount to desertion for a Weather Bureau employee in 1900. However, on pages 51 - 52 of the book 'Through a Night of Horrors', assembled by the staff at the Rosenberg Library from actual survivors' accounts, Isaac Cline himself specifically addresses the 'desertion', where it is stated that Kuhnel had left Galveston without first securing Isaac's permission or informing anyone at the Weather Bureau office that he was leaving.

Page 264 - Concerning the ultimate fate of the 1900 Hurricane, it is stated "The storm raced in a cold and lethal arc across the top of the world until it fell at last into Siberia...". No independent reference concerning this claim can be found; indeed, all such references located list this book as the basis for the claim. Tropical weather systems entering the North Atlantic quickly become extratropical as the warm waters fueling the storm's engine fade. The storm then generally loses circulation and "rains out", afterwards combining with other weather systems. For the 1900 Hurricane to reach Siberia, it would have had to travel from Newfoundland across the cool North Atlantic, cross the cold Norwegian Sea past Iceland, round Norway, cross the cold Barents Sea, and turn 90 degrees southeast to reach far western Siberia. This sequence of events is extremely unlikely, but more importantly, how could anyone in 1900, without access to satellite photography, have tracked this specific storm so far and for so long so as to know its ultimate destination? See http://www.hurricanescience.org/science/science/hurricanedecay/

Page 271, concerning Isaac Cline, it is stated, "He never remarried." Yet a website dedicated to the 1900 Galveston Hurricane states that he did remarry, to a woman named Margaret C. Hayes, and that she died on April 9, 1926. A remarriage would explain why photographs taken of Isaac Cline later in life do not show him wearing the pinky ring seen on the cover and emphasized on page 258. See http://www.1900storm.com/isaaccline/clinechrono.lasso and http://www.neworleansbar.org/uploads/files/FatefulForecasts.6 - 9.pdf

Page 272 - The author gives Isaac Cline's date of death and age but never does identify his date of birth anywhere in the book. See comments regarding page 7.

Comparing the content of this book to that of one of its referenced sources, this being Gary Cartwright's 'Galveston', one finds that frequently the two differ considerably, mainly because Cartwright based the 'hurricane' section of his book on the memoirs of Joseph Cline and the author based his on the memoirs of Isaac Cline. An example is the opening sequence between Isaac and Joseph, the description of which is vastly different in Cartwright's book. Another is the history of Spindletop, the description of which is also quite different in Cartwright's book. There are numerous similar instances. To quote a passage from the book, "Who is right?"

Other potential errors - the website Weatherwise.com took exception to many of the author's meteorological pronouncements, although they applauded the book. This discussion and review of the book lie behind a paywall. Numerous other websites take exception to the author's description of the estrangement between Isaac and Joseph Cline, stating that the author's description of same has been greatly exaggerated. See comments for page 191.


A Note at the End: Vetting of the author's source materials has only just scratched the surface and should be continued to completion if all errors, potential errors, and conflicts in Isaac's Storm are ever to be identified. Newspaper sources are especially untrustworthy and every effort should be made to independently verify any 'facts' derived therefrom. Likewise, any source documentation authored by either Isaac or Joseph Cline should be viewed with suspicion and used with caution, as errors are assuredly contained therein.
Thank you to guest proofreader W. T. Mosley!

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