The Hurricane of 1906 in Pensacola and Mobile

historic hurricane damage
1906 category 2 hurricane damage in Pensacola
historic newspaper article
Pensacola News Journal after hurricane of 1906

The hurricane of September 27, 1906 was a Category 2 at landfall. NOAA’s AOML summarizes, ” Destructive winds and unprecedented tides accompanied the storm. At Pensacola, FL, the tide was 10 feet above normal. It was said to have been the most violent storm there in 170 years. At Mobile, AL, property damage was severe. The storm’s tide was 9.9 feet above normal. A total of 134 lives were lost from Pensacola, FL to Mississippi in this storm.” What follows is an edited account from Monthly Weather Review. The spelling and grammar were common in the early 1900s…

The hurricane was more destructive than any other in the meteorological history of the station, involving a greater loss of property, more numerous marine disasters, and greater destruction to timber. The storm approached this section without any optical premonitory signs or noticeable cloud formations.

historic hurricane damage
Hurricane of 1906 in Mobile, McCall Library, USA

About 20 buildings, mostly houses in Mobile, demolished. Nearly all buildings were damaged. Windows were blown in, chimneys felled, tin roofs rolled up, slates and shingles ript off so that few interiors of houses escaped damage by the rain. In some places, heavy timbers were carried considerable distances. Many merchants in the wholesale district had elevated their wares, but the tide exceeded all previous stages and damaged the lowermost goods. All electric services were totally crippled. The telegraph wires being down by 3 a.m. of the 27th. The roads were made impassable by prostrated trees. The wharfs were greatly damaged and shipping suffered considerably.

historic hurricane damage
Christ Episcopal Church after Category 3 hurricane of 1906

In the southern parts of Mobile and Baldwin counties the storm was most destructive to life and property. On the southern coast of Mobile County about one hundred persons lost their lives, mostly by drowning in the high tide which swept the coast.

This was the most terrific storm in the history of Pensacola. The greatest loss was to the shipping interests; a large number of ocean going vessels, tug boats, fishing smacks, launches, and craft of all kinds were wrecked upon the beach. The people of the city were panic stricken. Santa Rosa Island saved Pensacola from more severe suffering. The entire water front property was inundated, the water reaching many houses; some were either carried away completely or irreparably damaged. On Palafox street from the wharf north to Wright street, there is hardly a building that has escaped damage. Fort Pickens has suffered severely, and Fort McRae is completely razed.

historic weather map
Hurricane on September 27, 1906 over Mobile

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