Isaac Cline was a local boy, born and raised on a farm near Madisonville in the mid 1800s, and educated at Hiwassee College. He became what would later be called a meteorologist and was a central figure in the deadliest hurricane ever to hit the U.S.
I have read about 70% of Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson and I recommend it for anybody interested in history.
The storm that struck Galveston in 1900 destroyed far more lives than it might have but for the hubris of Weather Bureau Chief Willis Moore. The Spanish American War had just ended and Chief Moore was tired of seeing warnings from upstart Cuban weather predictors that 'unnecessarily alarmed the citizenry'. Never mind the fact that they were pretty good at their craft. He lobbied Western Union to suppress their telegraphic service to the U.S.
In the first week of September, Moore's Weather Bureau confidently predicted the hurricane that had just crossed Cuba would cross the Florida Peninsula as a tropical storm and head northeast out over the Atlantic. The Cubans were just as confident it would gain strength and head to the northwest toward the coast of Louisiana or Texas. Their warnings went unnoticed.
Isaac Cline and his family lived in a house a couple of blocks from the beach on Galveston Island. On September 7, 1900, they were expecting hot weather with rain showers.
Sept. 9, 1900
To: Manager, Western Union
Do you hear anything about Galveston?
Willis L. Moore, Chief,
U.S. Weather Bureau
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