Hurricanes Since 1900 With Significant Impact to Follets Island
1900 Great Galveston Storm made landfall at Galveston on September 8 as a category 4 hurricane. This was the worst natural disaster in US history, with 6,000 to 8,000 dead. Galveston Island, with the highest elevation at less than 10 feet, was completely inundated by the 15 foot storm surge. Follets Island also was inundated.
1909 Velasco Hurricane made landfall at Velasco (Freeport) on July 21 as a category 3 hurricane. Three miles inland, Velasco was inundated by a 20 foot storm surge, which nearly wiped out the entire town. Follets Island must have been completely inundated by storm surge.
1915 Galveston Hurricane made landfall at Follets Island on August 17 as a category 4 hurricane. Despite the 16 foot storm surge on Galveston Island, the loss of life was limited to 11 people due to construction of the seawall and raising the island elevation after the 1900 storm. Follets Island was completely submerged. On Follets Island at Oyster Creek, the Velasco Lifesaving Station was completely destroyed.
1932 Freeport Hurricane made landfall at Follets Island on August 14 as a category 4 hurricane. Official warnings began only 4 hours before landfall and many people were unable to evacuate. In Brazoria County, 40 were killed.
1941 Texas Hurricane made landfall at Cedar Lakes, 4 miles SW of the mouth of the San Bernard River on September 23 as a probable category 2 hurricane. A 10 foot storm surge was recorded at Freeport, which would have completely inundated Follets Island. A 7 foot storm surge at Galveston flooded large portions of the island.
1943 Surprise Hurricane made landfall on Bolivar Island on the morning of July 27 as a category 2 hurricane. Due to war censorship, ship's radio broadcasts were silenced, including weather reports. Therefore, there was very little warning to coastal residents of the impending hurricane. The first warning was issued the day before the storm, forecasting a small disturbance with 30-40 mph winds. A hurricane advisory was not issued until the morning of July 27, as Galveston was being buffeted by hurricane-force winds. 19 lives were lost and hundreds were injured. After this hurricane, advisories were never again censored from the public, the danger is too great.
1961 Hurricane Carla made landfall on Matagorda Island on September 11 as a category 4 hurricane. At Port O'Connor, the storm surge was 22 ft, at Freeport, a storm surge of 11 ft was recorded. The storm surge completely inundated Follets Island and caused extensive damage to Surfside. The hurricane prompted the evacuation of 500,000 coastal residents of Louisiana and Texas, at the time the largest evacuation in US history. This evacuation is credited with limiting the death toll to 43, which is remarkable, considering the size of the storm.
1983 Hurricane Alicia made landfall at the west end of Galveston Island on August 18 as a category 3 hurricane. Galveston recorded a storm surge of 5.5 ft on Pier 21 and 8.7 ft on the Pleasure Pier. In Galveston Bay, a 12 foot storm surge was recorded at Morgans Point. Alicia destroyed most of the remaining dunes on the west end of Galveston Island. A total of 21 lives were lost by this storm.
2008 Hurricane Ike made landfall on the east end of Galveston Island on September 13 with category 2 winds but a class 5 storm surge with a maximum of 22 feet. The 17 foot high Galveston Seawall was overtopped by floodwaters. Follets and Galveston Islands were nearly completely submerged, storm flooding extended inland for up to 10 miles. In Texas, 74 lives were lost due to Ike.