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Severe Weather in Texas: 1890s

Severe weather in Texas can be categorized by two factors: loss of life and the cost of damage estimating over $1 million. The following events were included because they caused an extensive amount of destruction and in some cases, fatalities were also a result of the severe weather.

April 28, 1893: Tornado. Cisco, Eastland County; 23 killed, 93 injured; damage $400,000.

Feb. 1895: Freeze/Snow. Coastal Texas. What is probably the greatest heavy-snow anomally in the climatic history of the U.S. resulted from a snowstorm along the Texas coast on the 14th–15th. Houston; Orange; Stafford, Fort Bend County; and Columbus, Colorado County, each reported a snowfall of 20 inches. Galveston had a snowfall of 15.4 inches. Snow fell as far south as the Lower Rio Grande Valley, where Brownsville received 5 inches. The Lower Valley had lows of 22°F the 14th through the 17th, destroying the vegetable crops.

May 15, 1896: Tornadoes, Sherman, Grayson County; Justin and Gribble Springs, Denton County; 76 killed; damage $225,000.

Sept. 12, 1897: Hurricane. Many houses in Port Arthur were demolished; 13 killed, damage $150,000.

May 1, 1898: Tornado. Mobeetie, Wheeler County. Four killed, several injured; damage $35,000.

Feb. 11–13, 1899: Freeze. A disastrous cold wave throughout the state. Newspapers described it as the worst freeze ever known in the state. Brownsville’s temperature reach 16°F on the 12th and remained below freezing through the 13th. Much destruction of vegetable crops.

June 27–July 1, 1899: Rainstorm. A storm, centered over the Brazos River watershed, precipitated an average of 17 inches over 7,000 square miles. At Hearne, the gage overflowed at 24 inches; estimated total rainfall was 30 inches. At Turnersville, Coryell County, 33 inches were recorded in three days. This rain caused the worst Brazos River flood on record. Between 30 and 35 lives were lost. Property damage was estimated at $9 million.

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