Current Watches and Warnings
Texas, Inland Cameron
Public Information Statement
Statement as of 4:00 PM CDT on May 24, 2013
... May 26th through June 1st is hurricane preparedness week in Texas...
The honorable governor of Texas... Rick Perry... has declared may 26th
through June 1st 2013 as hurricane preparedness week in Texas.
The following tropical weather topics will be discussed today and next
Today through Sunday... hurricane history
Monday... ... ... ... ... ..Storm surge
Tuesday... ... ... ... ... .high winds and tornadoes
Wednesday... ... ... ... ..inland flooding
Thursday... ... ... ... ... marine impacts
Friday... ... ... ... ... ..Personal preparedness tips
Hurricanes have been part of Texas coastal history as long as the
state has been inhabited.
The great Galveston hurricane of September 8th 1900 remains the
worst natural disaster in the United States in numbers of lives
lost. An estimated 8000 persons were killed in the storm.
At the time... the population of Galveston was slightly over 20
Driven by winds in excess of 125 mph... raging Gulf waters covered
the island to a depth up to 15 feet. Wooden buildings floated off
pilings and smashed into one another. As buildings collapsed and
disintegrated... occupants were thrust into the water and drowned. The
local weather office had sounded the alarm on the previous day... and
over 10 thousand people fled inland to safety. Of the 10 thousand
who did not evacuate... at least eight in ten perished.
While the Rio Grande Valley and deep south Texas have rarely seen a
storm the magnitude of the great Galveston hurricane... several
significant events have affected the area since the late 19th
September 1886: nearly 26 inches of rain inundated the city of
Brownsville from a storm that inched northward along the coast.
September 4th and 5th 1933: a thirteen foot storm surge inundated
coastal Cameron County. All dunes on South Padre Island were
leveled... and over 40 separate cuts were produced by the battering
surf. It is said that developed areas along the coast were
abandoned until after world War two. Significant wind damage was common
across the lower Rio Grande Valley... and wind gusts as high as 125
mph were noted in portions of Cameron County... causing complete
destruction of a number of homes and businesses in Brownsville and
2013 Marks the 80th anniversary of this storm... the Labor Day
hurricane... also known as the valley's "big blow".
September 20th 1967 - hurricane beulah: Beulah remains the
significant storm of record for longtime residents of the Rio Grande
Valley and deep south Texas. One or more impacts from
wind... flooding... and storm surge affected people from Cameron to
Zapata County. A ship in the port of Brownsville recorded winds of
136 mph... gusts to 109 mph were recorded at the Brownsville Airport
before the device was bent... and gusts to 100 mph were noted as far
inland as Pharr and Edinburg. A storm surge of 8 to 14 feet swept
across South Padre Island into Port Isabel.
The slowing storm eased across Willacy and Brooks County then moved
briefly into Duval and Webb County before returning southwest and
dissipating in northern Mexico. Beulah's slow movement and
relatively large size dropped tremendous rains across
Starr... Hidalgo... and Brooks County. An overflowing creek inundated
Falfurrias and excessive water flowing down the Rio Grande and into
adjacent floodways flood homes to their rooftops in Harlingen.
August 10th 1980 - hurricane allen: Allen... a formidable category 5
storm just prior to entering the Gulf... weakened to a category 3
just prior to landfall near Port Mansfield as dry air infiltrated
the cyclone as it slowly edged onshore. A brief wind gust of 138
mph was reported at Port Mansfield where significant damage
occurred. Reports had buildings in Brownsville inundated with 4
feet or water... probably from rainfall. Uninhabited Padre Island
had 68 new cuts from the impressive storm surge which reached 12
feet at Port Mansfield and likely higher to the north.
August 23rd 1999 - hurricane bret: Bret will be remembered as the
storm that split the population centers of the lower Rio Grande
Valley and the Corpus Christi area. A dangerous category four storm
just prior to landfall... Bret weakened while approaching the coast
and weakened more rapidly soon after making landfall on uninhabited
Padre Island in northern Kenedy County. While Bret's worst impacts
largely affected cattle and Mesquite... there were impacts felt from
Sarita to Falfurrias where hurricane force winds and more than a
foot of rain caused significant damage. A peak gust of 98 mph was
recorded at the Brooks County Airport near Falfurrias... and
sustained wind of 73 mph were recorded at The Rincon del San Jose
buoy along the Laguna Madre in southern Kenedy County within the
eyewall before the equipment failed.
July 23rd 2008 - hurricane dolly: Dolly served as a reminder to the
residents of the Lower Texas coastline for the need to remain
vigilant during each and every hurricane season. Dolly's wind and
torrential rains caused damage and flooding across the Rio Grande
Valley to the tune of over one billion dollars... making it the 4th
most destructive Texas hurricane on record in raw value not adjusted
Sustained winds for most were largely below hurricane force... but an
area extending from the town of South Padre Island through Laguna
Vista and Port Isabel... Rio Hondo... Harlingen... and San Benito
experienced frequent gusts to hurricane force and widespread minor
to moderate wind damage to roofs... poorly designed buildings...
trees... and power lines and poles. Rainfall of 12 to 18 inches or
more produced widespread flooding in Cameron... Hidalgo... Willacy...
and even Starr County.
September 12th and 13th 2008 - hurricane ike: Texans and the nation
will remember Ike as the storm that swallowed the Bolivar Peninsula
northeast of Galveston... leaving nothing more than a few buildings
standing after a storm surge of at least 17 feet scraped the area
clean. Ike's large wingspan drove high water across the entire Gulf
of Mexico. It was Ike which caused severe beach erosion on the
South Padre Island beaches which have finally recovered in time for
the 2009 season.
June 30th 2010 - hurricane alex: Alex made landfall about 100 miles
south of Brownsville. Impacts to the Rio Grande Valley were
initially minor... with a few small tornadoes and local flooding. The
remnants of Alex meandered through the Sierra Madre... dumping in
excess of 50 inches of rain which flowed into the Rio Grande basin.
The runoff required dam releases which spilled millions of gallons
of water into the river... flooding Rio Grande City with water levels
not seen in nearly 40 years. The floodways of the Lower Valley were
opened in early July and water up to 8 feet high flowed through them
for more than a month.
The effects of a tropical storm or hurricane can go well inland past
the Texas coast. Heavy rainfall... flooding and even tornadoes can
occur several hundred miles into the interior parts of the state.
That makes this week a perfect time for emergency planners... city
and County officials... the media... and the public to prepare for the
tropical threats. Schools... hospitals and nursing homes should
test... review and exercise their plans and make certain their
employees are ready. Finally... everyone living or visiting the Texas
coast must be prepared to move to safety in an organized and timely
fashion if necessary.
For additional information regarding hurricane history and
preparedness... please visit the following websites /use lower case/:
Hurricane Alex review:
Hurricane Dolly review:
Hurricane Ike review:
A Texas hurricane history:
Brownsville National Weather Service hurricane preparedness
Texas hurricane guide, Rio Grande Valley edition (available may 26th)
Guia oficial de huracanes, la edicion para El Valle del Rio Grande
National Hurricane Center preparedness Page
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