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Severe Weather in Texas: Pre-1880s

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.

Sept. 4, 1766: Hurricane. Galveston Bay. Spanish Mission Nuestra Señora de la Luz destroyed.

Sept. 12, 1818: Hurricane. Galveston Island. Salt water flowed four feet deep. Only six buildings remained habitable. Of the six vessels and two barges in the harbor, even the two not seriously damaged were reduced to dismasted hulks. Pirate Jean Lafitte moved to one hulk so his Red House might serve as a hospital.

Aug. 6, 1844: Hurricane. Mouth of Rio Grande. All houses destroyed at the mouth of the river and at Brazos Santiago, eight miles north; 70 lives lost.

Sept. 19, 1854: Hurricane. It struck near Matagorda, and moved inland, northwestward over Columbus. Main impact fell in Matagorda and Lavaca bays. Almost all buildings in Matagorda were destroyed. Four lives were lost in town; more lives were lost on the peninsula.

Oct. 3, 1867: Hurricane. This hurricane moved inland south of Galveston, but raked the entire Texas coast from the Rio Grande to the Sabine. Bagdad and Clarksville, towns at the mouth of the Rio Grande, were destroyed. Much of Galveston was flooded and property damage there was estimated at $1 million.

Sept. 16, 1875: Hurricane. Struck Indianola, Calhoun County. Three-fourths of town swept away; 176 lives lost. Flooding from the bay caused nearly all destruction.

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