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Severe Weather in Texas: 1960s

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.

Oct. 28, 1960: Rainstorm. Rains of 7-10 inches fell in South Central Texas; 11 died from drowning in flash floods. In Austin about 300 families were driven from their homes. Damage in Austin was estimated at $2.5 million.

Sept. 8–14, 1961: Hurricane Carla. Port O’Connor; maximum wind gust at Port Lavaca estimated at 175 mph. Highest tide was 18.5 feet at Port Lavaca. Most damage was to coastal counties between Corpus Christi and Port Arthur and inland Jackson, Harris and Wharton counties. In Texas, 34 persons died; seven in a tornado that swept across Galveston Island; 465 persons were injured. Property and crop damage conservatively estimated at $300 million. The evacuation of an estimated 250,000 persons kept loss of life low. Hurricane Carla was the largest hurricane of record.

Jan. 9–12, 1962: Freeze. A disastrous cold wave comparable to the cold waves of 1899 and 1951. Low temperatures ranged from -15°F in the Panhandle to 10°F at Rio Grande City. Agricultural losses were estimated at $50 million.

Sept. 7, 1962: Rainstorm. Fort Worth. Rains fell over the Big Fossil and Denton Creek watersheds ranging up to 11 inches of fall in three hours. Extensive damage from flash flooding occurred in Richland Hills and Haltom City.

Sept. 16–20, 1963: Hurricane Cindy. Rains of 15 to 23.5 inches fell in portions of Jefferson, Newton and Orange counties when Hurricane Cindy became stationary west of Port Arthur. Flooding from the excessive rainfall resulted in total property damage of $11.6 million and agricultural losses of $500,000.

April 3, 1964: Tornado. Wichita Falls. Seven killed, 111 injured; damage $15 million; 225 homes destroyed, 50 with major damage, and 200 with minor damage. Sixteen other buildings received major damage.

Sept. 21–23, 1964: Rainstorm. Collin, Dallas and Tarrant counties. Rains of more than 12 inches fell during the first eight hours of the 21st. Flash flooding of tributaries of the Trinity River and smaller creeks and streams resulted in two drownings and an estimated $3 million property damage. Flooding of homes occurred in all sections of McKinney. In Fort Worth, there was considerable damage to residences along Big Fossil and White Rock creeks.

Jan. 25, 1965: Dust Storm. West Texas. The worst dust storm since February 1956 developed on the southern High Plains. Winds, gusting up to 75 mph at Lubbock, sent dust billowing to 31,000 feet in the area from the Texas-New Mexico border eastward to a line from Tulia to Abilene. Ground visibility was reduced to about 100 yards in many sections. The worst hit was the Muleshoe, Seminole, Plains, Morton area on the South Plains. The rain gage at Reese Air Force Base, Lubbock, contained 3 inches of fine sand.

June 2, 1965: Tornado. Hale Center, Hale County. Four killed, 76 injured; damage $8 million.

June 11, 1965: Rainstorm. Sanderson, Terrell County. Torrential rains of up to eight inches in two hours near Sanderson caused a major flash flood that swept through the town. As a result, 26 persons drowned and property losses were estimated at $2.72 million.

April 22–29, 1966: Flooding. Northeast Texas. Twenty to 26 inches of rain fell in portions of Wood, Smith, Morris, Upshur, Gregg, Marion and Harrison counties. Nineteen persons drowned in the rampaging rivers and creeks that swept away bridges, roads and dams, and caused an estimated $12 million damage.

April 28, 1966: Flash flooding. Dallas County. Flash flooding from torrential rains in Dallas County resulted in 14 persons drowned and property losses at $15 million.

Sept. 18–23, 1967: Hurricane Beulah. Near Brownsville. The third largest hurricane of record, Hurricane Beulah moved inland near the mouth of the Rio Grande on the 20th. Wind gusts of 136 mph were reported during Beulah’s passage. Rains 10 to 20 inches over much of the area south of San Antonio resulted in record-breaking floods. An unofficial gaging station at Falfurrias registered the highest accumulated rainfall, 36 inches. The resultant stream overflow and surface runoff inundated 1.4 million acres. Beulah spawned 115 tornadoes, all in Texas, the greatest number of tornadoes on record for any hurricane. Hurricane Beulah caused 13 deaths and 37 injuries, of which five deaths and 34 injuries were attributed to tornadoes. Property losses were estimated at $100 million and crop losses at $50 million.

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