An upper-level high pressure ridge over Texas and south-southwest winds are bringing extreme summer heat to Galveston. Although high temperatures will range from the near to low 90s at the coast and mid-90s inland over the county, heat and humidity will put heat indexes in excess of 100 degrees to 105 degrees through Friday, meaning that residents should be very cautious about becoming overheated and/or leaving any children or pets in automobiles.

One possible relief, especially in the late afternoon and evenings will be the brisk south to southwest winds, gusting to as much as 30 mph near the bay and coast. In addition, an influx of deeper moisture and weak disturbances to our north may bring some thundershower activity back in our picture this weekend, though warmer than normal conditions should continue into next week.

Meanwhile, with the relative lull in tropical activity, I would like to share a bit of Galveston weather history, involving the chamber of commerce.

Following the 1900 Storm, Galvestonians were determined not to be caught off guard by any approaching hurricanes. Initially the National Weather Service Office took responsibility for alerting citizens of any impending blows, making use of the telephone to contact persons down the Island and to answer all inquiries directed to them through the telephone exchange. With the rapid increase in telephone subscribers, this system soon proved unfeasible. Both Weather Bureau staff and telephone operators were overwhelmed with calls from “thousands of anxious” residents when a major hurricane menaced the coast in 1919.

In 1921, local businessman Joseph Maurer proposed that a local committee be formed to distribute weather bulletins in public places such as fire stations, the post office, local newspapers and other downtown locations. This solution, however, did not satisfy citizens wanting quick updates or who were unable to view the posted bulletins. So in 1932, the chamber of commerce devised a plan whereby a representative of the weather bureau and chamber of commerce volunteers would be stationed at the telephone company during threatening weather in order to “disseminate” information to city residents.

This solution proved so popular that in 1933, the chamber of commerce installed its own switchboard so that the Weather Committee could operate directly from the chamber office whenever hurricanes appeared. For the next two decades, the chamber of commerce served as many citizens first and best source for up to date storm information, often taking thousands of calls during weather emergencies.

By the 1950’s, the rapid development of radio and television eliminated the need for a telephone information service and the chamber phased-out the operation, allowing this once vital link to take its place in the annals of the city’s history.

Stan Blazyk is a life-long weather enthusiast, long-time Galveston resident and author of "A Century of Galveston Weather." He has written about weather for The Daily News for more than a decade.

(4) comments

Gary Miller

I think what is needed is better education of earth weather history. Earth has often been warmer than today and often cooler than today but too many people believe today is worse than it was then. Weather (aka climate) changes and what we have today will not be what we have in the future. Cold and warm cycles take turns but are never permanent. Destroying American life styles or our economy won't stop the cycles, not even likely to change them much. Warm cycles have always been the GOOD times. Cool cycles are mostly BAD times but humans adapt to what ever the weather offers.

Bailey Jones

"Destroying American life styles or our economy..." No one is advocating destroying anything. A couple of hundred years ago, the navies of the world realized that the age of wind powered ships was passing, and switched to coal fired steam. Those who switched first rule the seas. Around the turn of the last century, they realized that the age of coal was over and turned to oil. Oil has driven the economic and political policies of the entire world for the past 100 years. The world is changing once again, this time to what is referred to as renewable energy (although I prefer the term perpetual, since it never runs out). Texas leads the country in wind power, producing 1/6th of its energy from wind. The turn away from oil to perpetual sources isn't the end of our economy, it's the beginning of a new age. Just as temperatures have cycles, so do economies. The question Americans should be asking is, who will lead the world in the new energy economy? Right now, in manufacturing wind power, it's a race between Denmark, China and Germany, with the US pulling up the rear. The cost of perpetual power has dropped dramatically in recent years (solar has dropped 90% in the past decade). Where will the US be when the inevitable tipping point comes - when wind and solar is cheaper than oil and gas? I can tell you - we'll be in the same spot as those countries who woke up one day to find their wind driven ships competing with steam - losing the race, and losing the war. The new energy economy is greatest opportunity the world has ever faced. There are fortunes to be made, jobs to be had, independence to be won.

Stan Blazyk Staff
Stan Blazyk

Gary, this column was not about global warming, but the local weather. But, since you brought this up, I need to point out a couple of misconceptions. First, the fact that there have been warm and cold cycles is not disputed by any climate scientist. However, just as the fact that there forest fires before their were humans, but that doesn't mean that humans cannot be responsible for a forest fire. Just because there have been warm periods in the past, it doesn't mean that this one is not related to human activity, especially since it bears all the earmarks of human activity and is actually occurring in what should be a cooling cycle. As a fact, the last time the earth has been this warm was 125,000 years ago, so human civilizations have never had to cope with this before. Second, human beings have never breathed air with so much carbon dioxide as the current levels of over 405 parts per million (and steadily rising), have never occurred on earth during the life of our species.

mark niles

Great comments Stan. I am reading this late but Gary also published a similar letter in the Daily News recently which I responded to in much the same way as you have here. From reading many of Gary's letters I dare say he is an advocate for any Right Wing policy or point of view. Climate change denial is just another of his hot buttons.

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