"Pointe a Pitre was a perfect picture of a city that had been dynamited during the preceding night." - William H. Hunt, American Consul on the Guadeloupe, in a letter to Secretary of State Frank Kellogg
In 2005, the world watched in horror as Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans, and the calamity seemed all the worse because many felt that technology had advanced far enough to prevent such tragedies. But that viewpoint that tends to overlook all of the dangers posed by hurricanes, and other phenomena that produce natural disasters. After all, storms and hurricanes have been wiping out coastal communities ever since the first humans built them.
As bad as Hurricane Katrina was, the hurricane that struck southern Florida in September 1928 killed hundreds more, with an estimated death toll of over 2,500 people. Prior to advanced communications, few people knew about impending hurricanes except those closest to the site. And in the days before television, or the widespread use of radios, catastrophic descriptions were merely recorded on paper, limiting an understanding of the immediate impact. Stories could be published after the water receded and the dead were buried, but by then the immediate shock had worn off and all that remained were the memories of the survivors. Thus, it was inevitable that the Category 5 hurricane wrought almost inconceivable destruction as it made landfall in Florida, with winds at nearly 150 miles per hour. And in addition to the powerful storm itself, the flooding of Lake Okeechobee exacerbated the damage by spilling across several hundred square miles, which were covered in up to 20 feet of water in some places.
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