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Severe Weather in Texas: 1950s

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.

Jan.–Feb. 1951: Freeze. On Jan. 31.–Feb. 3 and again on Feb. 13–17, cold waves swept over the entire state, bringing snow and sleet. Heavy damage was done in the Lower Rio Grande Valley to truck and citrus crops, notably in the earlier of these northers. During the norther of Jan. 31–Feb. 3, the temperature went to –19°F in Dalhart.

Sept. 8–10, 1952: Rainstorm. Heavy rains over the Colorado and Guadalupe River watersheds in southwestern Texas caused major flooding. From 23 to 26 inches fell between Kerrville, Blanco and Boerne. Highest stages ever known occurred in the Pedernales River; five lives lost, three injured; 17 homes destroyed, 454 damaged. Property loss several million dollars.

March 13, 1953: Tornado. Jud and O’Brien, Haskell County; and Knox City, Knox County; 17 killed, 25 injured; damage $600,000.

May 11, 1953: Tornado. Near San Angelo, Tom Green County; eleven killed, 159 injured; damage $3.24 million.

May 11, 1953: Tornado. Waco, McLennan County; 114 killed, 597 injured; damage $41.15 million. One of two most disastrous tornadoes; 150 homes destroyed, 900 homes damaged; 185 other buildings destroyed; 500 other buildings damaged.

Feb. 1–5, 1956: Blizzard. High Plains. A major blizzard moved into the Panhandle and South Plains on Feb. 1. Snow and high winds continued through Feb. 5. Snowfall was the heaviest on record in Texas. Twenty deaths were attributed to the blizzard.

April 2, 1957: Tornado. Dallas, Dallas County; 10 killed, 200 injured; damage $4 million. Moving through Oak Cliff and West Dallas, it damaged 574 buildings, largely homes.

April–May, 1957: Torrential Rains. Excessive flooding occurred throughout the area east of the Pecos River to the Sabine River during the last 10 days of April; 17 lives were lost, and several hundred homes were destroyed. During May, more than 4,000 persons were evacuated from unprotected lowlands on the West Fork of the Trinity above Fort Worth and along creeks in Fort Worth. Twenty-nine houses at Christoval were damaged or destroyed and 83 houses at San Angelo were damaged. Five persons were drowned in floods in South Central Texas.

May 15, 1957: Tornado. Silverton, Briscoe County; 21 killed, 80 injured; damage $500,000.

June 27, 1957: Hurricane Audrey. Center crossed the Gulf coast near the Texas-Louisiana line. Orange was in the western portion of the eye between 9 and 10 a.m. In Texas, nine lives were lost, 450 persons injured; property damage was $8 million. Damage was extensive in Jefferson and Orange counties, with less in Chambers and Galveston counties. Maximum wind reported in Texas, 85 m.p.h. at Sabine Pass, with gusts to 100 m.p.h.

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