Galveston and the Great Storm of 1900 - CAPE VERDE HURRICANES

CAPE VERDE HURRICANES (Illustration) Geography Social Studies STEM Disasters

This map, from the U.S. National Weather Service, depicts a particularly active late-summer hurricane season—in 1995—where numerous storms originated at the Cape Verde Islands.  Click on the image for a better view.


The Atlantic hurricane season begins in June and ends in November. Some of the worst late-summer storms develop near the Cape Verde Islands, located off the African shore not far from Senegal.

Hurricanes form when a pre-existing disturbance, accompanied by thunderstorms, develops over an ocean that is at least 81 degrees Fahrenheit to a depth of 150 feet. Those warm waters provide a tremendous source of fuel for the storm.

Under the right conditions, the developing storm can become a serious tropical cyclone provided the winds aloft (follow this animated link to see how ocean winds are measured today) are light and have a low wind shear. (A heavy upper wind, with high wind shears, can remove the tops of thunder clouds. That action stops the tropical depression from becoming a hurricane.)

Although tropical cyclones develop in both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Cape Verde storms occur within the Atlantic's Hurricane Alley.  Pushed west by the prevailing Easterlies, the storms spawned near Cape Verde can track toward land or remain at sea in any given season. 

When Africa experiences drought, fewer Cape Verde storms develop. When African rains are heavy, however, the hurricane season is more intense.

"Category 5" is the term meteorologists use to describe the worst types of hurricanes. (This is a link to NOAA's "Hurricane Book.")

"Monster" is one of the terms survivors use for a major storm.

People in Galveston used those words - and many others - the day the sea swallowed their city.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: May 01, 2019

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"CAPE VERDE HURRICANES" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 01, 2002. Feb 17, 2020.
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