Wayback Wednesday: Hurricane Carla 1961

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Hurricane Carla Image One
Photo Credit: weather.gov

I realize that September 11 is usually reserved for the remembrance of 9/11 but, that seems to be all over the news as it is. There are other things that have happened on September 11. ~Vic

Fifty-eight years ago, today, Category 4 Hurricane Carla slammed into Texas, making landfall near Port O’Connor. She was the first Category 5 of the 1961 Atlantic hurricane season.

From the National Weather Service:

Carla was the most intense hurricane to make landfall on the Texas coast in the 20th century and second in recorded history only to the Indianola hurricane of 1886. Carla was the last of 6 hurricanes to make landfall on the Texas coast as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with sustained winds stronger than 130 mph, in the 20th century. Carla ranks as the 9th most intense hurricane to affect the United States since 1851.

Carla made landfall on the afternoon of the 11th on the northeast part of Matagorda Island as a strong Category 4 hurricane […]. The eye of Carla moved across Port O’Connor and Port Lavaca and, then, inland just east of Victoria. Carla weakened to a tropical storm on the morning of the 12th just east of Austin.

Carla was an extremely large hurricane with devastating effects from the winds and storm surge […]. The extreme tides inundated downtown Port Lavaca with 2 feet of flood water and displaced fishing boats and tug boats on Highway 35. With the slow movement of Carla, the hurricane pushed a storm surge of 22 feet above mean sea level at the head of Lavaca Bay in Port Lavaca. This is the highest storm surge in Texas hurricane history.

Hurricane Carla Image Two
Photo Credit: weather.gov

From Wikipedia:

[Little-known] newsman Dan Rather reported live from the second floor of a building in Texas City during the storm, an act that would be imitated by later reporters. This marked the first live television broadcast of a hurricane. Rather also alerted the public of the size of Carla in a way that “literally changed the way the world sees hurricanes”, according to a fellow reporter. Broadcasting live at the Weather Bureau Office in Galveston, Rather asked a meteorologist to draw an outline of the Gulf of Mexico on a transparent sheet of plastic. He then held the map over the black and white radar screen, which put the size of Carla into perspective, saying that Carla was the size of the Gulf of Mexico. CBS was so impressed with Rather’s work that he was offered the position of correspondent.

Carla remains number one on the Hurricane Severity Index.

ABC13 Houston Report

18 thoughts on “Wayback Wednesday: Hurricane Carla 1961

    BlackSheep said:
    September 12, 2019 at 12:16 AM

    Nice article. I didn’t know Dan Rather started the trend of reporting on a storm by standing out in it.
    I was looking into how they named storms the other day. I did not know Carla was the most severe.
    My name will likely never be picked for a hurricane and that is okay with me. You are probably in the same boat.

    Like

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 12, 2019 at 1:05 AM

      Neither did I. Rather was an interesting little tidbit that popped up. Had the Weather Channel existed back then, he could’ve been that era’s Cantore. LOL!

      Carla’s #1 spot was a combination of factors. It’s interesting to say the least. Having grown up in a state that ROUTINELY gets smacked by them, hurricanes fascinate me, especially after Fran.

      My first name would be too far down the alphabet but, there has been a Tropical Storm Victoria. My middle name, nope.

      Don’t think there will ever be a Black Sheep Hurricane. Sorry.

      Like

    Kenneth T. said:
    September 12, 2019 at 12:30 AM

    Whoa!

    Like

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 12, 2019 at 1:07 AM

      Exactly.

      No need to comment twice. I moderate my comments. It won’t show up, immediately.

      Like

        Kenneth T. said:
        September 12, 2019 at 1:11 AM

        Sorry bout that

        Like

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          September 12, 2019 at 11:46 AM

          No worries. Some don’t know that and think their comments disappear. Unless WP loses more of its mind than it already has, I see all my comments. None are lost. ❤

          Like

    the britchy one said:
    September 12, 2019 at 6:49 AM

    That was fascinating. We only ever got hit with one hard in England. It devastated the country. I’ve paid a lot more attention to them since living here and I’m fascinated by them – both how much and how little we know and by the incessant hype which we all know is just a way of not covering other stuff

    Like

    floatinggold said:
    September 12, 2019 at 2:23 PM

    A BlackSheep hurricane. LOL.
    The photo of the ship is amazing. Good stuff.

    Like

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 12, 2019 at 3:12 PM

      Those old black & whites are something. This thing happened five years before I was born. My dad was a junior in HS, my mom, a freshman.

      Liked by 1 person

    jmshistorycorner said:
    September 12, 2019 at 9:18 PM

    Wow.

    Like

    badfinger20 said:
    September 13, 2019 at 2:32 PM

    So Carla really made Dan’s career…What’s the Frequency Kenneth?
    She was a big one.

    Like

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 13, 2019 at 3:27 PM

      Heh. Yeah, she did.

      Was it you or Ron or Dave that did the REM post? Y’all are starting to blend together in my brain…

      Liked by 1 person

        badfinger20 said:
        September 13, 2019 at 3:50 PM

        All of us probably

        Liked by 1 person

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