Indianola Hurricane of 1886

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Indianola hurricane of 1886
The city of Indianola in 1875

The city of Indianola in 1875
Duration August 12 - August 21, 1886
Highest winds 155 mph (249 km/h) sustained
Damages unknown
Fatalities 74+
Areas affected Lesser Antilles, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Texas
Part of the 1880-1889 Atlantic hurricane seasons

The Indianola Hurricane of 1886 destroyed the town of Indianola, Texas. It was one of the most intense hurricanes ever to hit the United States.

Storm history

The storm began east of the Lesser Antilles on August 12th. The tropical storm moved northwestward through the islands, reaching hurricane strength on the 13th. It hit the Dominican Republic as a Category 2 hurricane, weakened a bit, and hit southeastern Cuba as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm weakened to a tropical storm, but when it reached the favorable Gulf of Mexico waters on the 18th, it again strengthened. As the hurricane approached the coast of Texas, it rapidly intensified to a 155 mph (250 km/h) hurricane. On the 19th, winds increased in Indianola, and on the 20th it made landfall as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane. Pressure at landfall is estimated to be 925 mb, which would make it the fifth strongest hurricane known to have hit the United States. The hurricane dissipated over Texas on the 21st.

Most intense landfalling U.S. hurricanes

Intensity is measured solely by central pressure

Rank Hurricane Year Landfall pressure
1 Labor Day 1935 892 mbar (hPa)
2 Camille 1969 909 mbar (hPa)
3 Katrina 2005 918 mbar (hPa)
4 Andrew 1992 922 mbar (hPa)
5 Indianola 1886 925 mbar (hPa)
6 Florida Keys 1919 927 mbar (hPa)
7 Okeechobee 1928 929 mbar (hPa)
8 Donna 1960 930 mbar (hPa)
9 New Orleans 1915 931 mbar (hPa)
10 Carla 1961 931 mbar (hPa)
Source: U.S. National Hurricane Center


The hurricane obliterated the town that was only just recovering from a powerful 1875 hurricane on the same location. This storm caused fewer fatalities however (46 in Indianola, compared to 400 in the 1875 storm) than the 1875 storm, largely because the storm struck during the day and residents had time to take shelter. Indianola's residents relocated farther inland after the storm. The old town's ruins sit just offshore under 15 feet of water in Matagorda Bay.

The hurricane killed 28 in Cuba to bring the total death toll to at least 74.

The hurricane also ended a severe drought in Texas.

See also

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