Can you imagine if this happened now, instead of 1886. The Global Warming and George Bush destroyed the enviroment people would be going nuts!!
June 14th, 1886 - Calcasieu Pass: Two storms made landfall that season near the Sabine River. The first, a strong tropical storm, caused inundation to extend several miles inland, worst at 10 am. Galveston had barely recovered from a fire 7 months before. It was considered the worst storm there since the Hurricane of 1875. Winds began briskly out of the northeast early that Monday morning, shifting to the south at speeds greater than 50 m.p.h.. The pressure fell to 29.43". Galveston island was submerged. Damage was scattered in nature. Cottages were swept away, railroad tracks were undermined, and a large number of sloops and yachts fell victim. The tug Idler was wrecked. Winds were considered worse at Sabine Pass. Telegraph poles were thrown several hundred yards. Seven feet of water overwhelmed the town. Five to six miles of railroad track was washed away. All the wharves disappeared and several buildings were leveled. One man helped others escape the area, despite water up to his neck. One life was lost, a ferry man, during the storm. See Louisiana Hurricane History for what the storm did in that state.
August 19-20th, 1886: Indianola suffered another calamity from a hurricane. Winds increased throughout the night of August 19th. Matagorda Bay began to invade the city by daylight on the 20th. The wind increased to 72 m.p.h. before the Signal Office building collapsed; the observer was killed by a falling timber during his attempt at escape. A lamp in the office burned down the building, along with more than a block of neighboring buildings on both sides of the street, despite the heavy rain. The town was a "universal wreck;" not a house that was left standing was safe to dwell in. Houses, carriages, personal property, and dead animals were strewn along the coastal plain. A storm surge of 15 feet inundated the region, covering the base of the Matagorda Island lighthouse with 4 feet of water. The village of Quintana, located at the mouth of the Brazos River, was almost entirely swept away. Despite Texas legend and according to the Houston Post at the time, Indianola was not totally abandoned after this storm, as the next storm in the Texas Hurricane History will show. In Galveston, winds were "furiously from the southeast" at 10 am on the 19th, causing area sand to reduce visibility to near zero (Houston Post, 8/21/1886). Winds increased until 5 P.M., and remained high until noon on the 20th; 50 mph at 10 am. Houses careened in the storm surge after midnight. Wires and trees were downed, bridges submerged, and communication was cut off. In Houston, winds increased to gale force at 930 am on the 19th. The height of the bayou rose 5-6 feet during the storm. In Victoria, an eastbound train was blown over. Two churches were damaged beyond repair. Very few buildings escaped the hurricane unharmed. At Rockport, 6 or 7 houses were leveled along with Temperence Hall and Fulton's Cistern Factory. Corpus Christi experienced winds of 75 mph out of the northwest dry up the Bay for 2 hours, leaving boats "high and dry".
It was considered the worst storm ever in much of interior South Texas. Goliad had numerous homes unroofed. La Grange had considerable damage to fruit and cotton. Wiemar saw two churches leveled and great destruction to its corn and cotton crops. Throughout Bexar County, cotton was in ruin; its Methodist church was also destroyed. In South Central Texas, damage was widespread. The storm continued northwest and caused a gale to blow with driving rains at 10 am on the 20th...with the center over San Antonio at 2:40 P.M.. Winds remained near 80 m.p.h. and the lowest pressure observed there was 29.03." At New Braunfels, the International freight depot was destroyed. One of the most positive aspects of the storm was the rain. A serious drought had developed across the region. In Galveston, water was being sold for 10 cents a bucket, which was twice the going rate for beer. It was so bad at Corpus Christi that residents had to give water to the poor, lest they die of dehydration. A number of ships met their fate off Galveston. A large schooner went on the rampage and broke through the Santa Fe bridge, pushing the train stalled on its tracks into the angry seas. The schooner Livonia capsized just off the sand bar in 6 fathoms of water. The J.W. Perry foundered 15 miles offshore. Around 30 people died and total damages were estimated near $2 million. Preceding this disaster, Indianola had been Texas' leading port of call. Due to the major destruction to their infrastructure, Galveston reaped the benefits, thereby becoming the successor to Indianola. Much would change by the turn of the century.
September 22nd-23rd, 1886: Battered Texas coast struck again, this time at Brownsville. Nearly 26 inches of rain (25.98") fell at Brownsville. In the already cursed city of Indianola, water began to invade the city from Matagorda Bay, becoming waist deep just after noon. Winds increased to 60 mph by 6 P.M.. People fled from town in a mass exodus during the early stages of the storm, all except for one family. The cast-iron Matagorda lighthouse was battered by the powerful storm. The tower shook violently in the winds; part of the lens was smashed on the floor of the lantern. Everything in its vicinity, outside the lighthouse and keeper's quarters, was swept away by the storm surge. Victoria also saw a northeast gale that evening.
Near Abbott, people watched in awe as a tornado touched town 3 miles west of town. It unroofed a barn and plowed through a corn field before lifting back into the clouds; its width was only a couple hundred yards. In Galveston, winds increased to 25 mph out of the east on the fringe of this storm. The railroad track was buried in sand. Only slight damage occurred.
October 12-13th, 1886: This hurricane proved much more devastating. At Galveston, winds reached 50 m.p.h., causing the Gulf to invade the island. Little, if any, damage was seen there. At Orange, trees were downed and the Catholic Church was leveled. Sabine Pass, at the time a small city of several hundred, was "virtually swept out of existence." The full fury raged during the afternoon of the 12th. The winds began out of the east and became southerly with time. By 5 P.M., winds reached 100 m.p.h.. Waves 20 feet high rolled in from the Gulf. Nearly every house in the area was moved from its foundation, including a hotel with 15-20 people inside, which was washed out to sea. Ten to eleven miles of railroad track was damaged. Furniture was strewn along the coast. One hundred two people perished in that city alone. Thousands of dead cattle, hogs, horses, and fowl laid everywhere after the storm. The schooner Henrietta went ashore and was considered a total loss. The schooner Silas was shoved across the railroad track, out onto the prairie. Johnson's Bayou and Sabine Pass were overwashed by a storm surge of up to 7 feet, which extended 20 miles inland. A woman crossed Sabine Lake on a feather mattress during and after the storm. She was without food for 40 hours. In all, between 175 and 200 lives were lost. See See Louisiana Hurricane History for what the storm did in that state.
Back then, I imagine they had no idea what was coming until it was already there, 4 times!