Feb 1, 2010


A few evenings ago, Dar and I attended a lecture about a hurricane that came ashore on this part of the Texas Gulf Coast in 1919. It was presented by a local historian that had collaborated with another to write and publish a book on the subject. They have an extensive collection of photographs and stories that added even more interest.

It was fascinating to hear and see the impact a hurricane can have on low-lying coastal areas. In those days there were no hurricane-hunter aircraft or weather satellites to provide early warning. This particular storm was estimated at Category 3 (an average hurricane?) and by far most of the damage was caused by water. The 8 to 10 foot storm surge inundated the low, flat land that's so common along this part of the coast, and the boats and other debris carried ashore battered and decimated wooden buildings and other structures.

The hurricane came ashore a few miles south of the city of Corpus Christi, which bore the brunt of the damage and casualties. But Port Aransas and Rockport to the north were hit hard too. Altogether, the authors believe almost 1,000 people died from this storm... most by drowning.

Structures that weren't inundated by water survived with minimal damage and people who lived on higher ground were shocked to see the extent of the damage nearer the shoreline when they got out and looked around the day after the storm.

This lecture got me thinking about the hurricane history for this part of the Texas Coast. Searching through a number of websites on the subject I found that besides the 1919 storm, there were just two others of note... Carla in 1961 and Celia in 1970. There may have been glancing blows and slight brushes by other storms, but these are the three that are remembered, and the ones that caused death and destruction.

So, it's been a 40 year period of calm along the Coastal Bend. Hmmm. I wonder how long it will last.

Planning to be North during hurricane season...

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