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Texas has long hurricane history

By DAVID TEWES
May 26, 2010 at 12:26 a.m.


Hurricanes strike the Texas Coast an average of one every three years, with all areas of the coast equally vulnerable.

The Texas Coast has been hit by 63 hurricanes since the National Weather Service began keeping records in 1851.

That's an average of one every three years and a map showing where they made landfall shows no real pattern. Every part of the Texas coast is equally vulnerable.

The Weather Research Center in Houston notes that some records of hurricane strikes go as far back as 1527. Explorer Alvez Nunez reported being cast ashore in November of that year on an island called Malhado.

It's possible that island is what is now called Galveston.

The last hurricane to strike the Crossroads was Hurricane Claudette, a strong Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds of 95 mph. There was one death and it was in Victoria County.

Before that it was Category 4 Hurricane Carla, which slammed ashore at Port O'Connor with sustained winds of 150 mph.

Hurricane Beulah, which moved ashore along the lower Texas Coast, spawned a record 115 tornadoes.

The National Weather Service began naming hurricanes after women in the 1950s and it added men's names in the 1970s.

Notable storms that struck the Texas coast include:

The Category 4 1875 storm that struck Indianola, killing 176 people. The Weather Research Center reports that three-fourths of the town was swept away by the storm surge.

Indianola was destroyed in an 1886 hurricane estimated to be a Category 4 or Category 5 hurricane. Not a house remained undamaged and many were washed or scattered inland over the plains.

In 1945, a Category 3 hurricane hit the Middle Texas Coast. Tides reached 15 feet at Port Lavaca and a large amount of salt water came over a 19-foot bluff.

An unnamed hurricane moved inland at Galveston in 1900, producing a 14.5-foot tide. At least 6,000 of the 38,000 people living on Galveston were killed.

A 1919 hurricane moved inland near Corpus Christi, where the tide reach 16 feet. The storm killed 300-600 people

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