Hurricane CARLA Hits Texas Coast, Sept 1961
Towering waves and winds hitting up to 140 m. p. h. in gusts wrecked piers, beach houses and boats, and knocked out power and communications.
Four tornadoes spawned by squall lines ahead of Carla slashed through southern Louisiana during the night. At Kaplan, one of the twisters killed 4-weeks-old NANCY ANN SIMON, injured 50 persons, and damaged or destroyed 50 homes.
The hurricane itself, however, struck at ghost towns and cities on a deserted shoreline.
As the hurricane drew nearer, winds estimated up to 90 m. p. h. whipped blinding rain in almost horizontal sheets through Corpus Christi. Broken electric wires sputtered on the ground in place.
Battered pieces of metal, broken glass and sections of pipe littered Corpus Christi streets. Store windows were smashed in the business district. House trailers were overturned.
In water-logged Galveston, an island resort center, the wind hit up to 114 m. p. h. before dawn. Water stood two to three feet deep in the streets. Ten-foot tides dashed waves against the city's 17-foot seawall.
The Weather Bureau predicted winds up to 80 m. p. h. in Houston, 50 miles inland from Galveston. Countless industries were shut and traffic was at a standstill in the Houston ship channel. Continuing rains promised considerable flooding in Houston.
In one of the largest mass evacuations ever in this country, between 300,000 and 400,000 residents along the Texas and Louisiana coast fled northward to escape the approaching storm.
Highways were jammed by solid lines of automobiles. Coastal residents loaded their cars with clothing, food, and family pets and drove inland. They went to Beaumont, Houston, Bryan, San Antonio, Austin, Waco, and scores of other points.
Finding refugee centers, motels and hotels filled, many went as far north as Dallas and as for west as Laredo on the Mexican border, to find shelter.
Galveston Island, where Chief of Police W. L. BURNS estimated only 15,000 of the 73,000 residents remained, was completely cut off from the mainland. Many coastal roads on the mainland were blocked by water from the high tides.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise New York 1961-09-11