THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LXV JANUARY, 1962 No. 3
Ilurricane Carla at falvesto, 1961
MILLICENT HUFF and H. BAILEY CARROLL
ON SEPTEMBER 11, 1961, HURRICANE CARLA HIT THE TEXAS
coast at Port O'Connor, 125 miles southwest of Galveston.
Although Galveston did not feel the full force of the hur-
ricane, a steady wind of 80 miles per hour with gusts up to 12o
miles per hour and a tide of 9.3 feet were experienced. The wind
and tide on the island did not equal those of the 1900 and 1915
storms,2 but Galvestonians saw a new chapter written in the his-
tory of Texas hurricanes when two tornadoes touched down on the
island early in the morning of September 12, after the first danger
of the hurricane had passed.
The most devastating of the tornadoes struck near the Golden
Greek Restaurant (George's), on Seawall Boulevard and cut a
northerly swath of destruction to the Galveston County court-
house. Six persons died, and 12o buildings were destroyed in the
path of the tornado which was somewhat diagonal to Galveston
Island, but almost directly south to north (see map). The tor-
1Galveston Daily News, September 24, 1961. The tide reached 8.8 feet above mean
sea level in Galveston, Texas, during Hurricane Carla on September 11, 1961. Wind
velocity reached 8o miles per hour with gusts up to 112 miles per hour. The gust
recorder became inoperative after 3 P.M. on September 11. Ernest Carson, meteor-
ologist-in-charge, U. S. Weather Bureau, Galveston, Texas, to M.S.H., signed state-
ment, November 8, 1961 (MS. in possession of writer). The tide reached 8.8 feet
above mean sea level at the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey Gage at 21st Street and
Wharf and reached 9.3 feet above mean sea level at the U. S. Coast and Geodetic
Survey Gage at Pleasure Pier. It was estimated that gusts were several miles higher
than the official reading of 112 miles per hour after the gust recorder became
inoperative. Ernest Carson, "Hurricane Carla, Galveston, Texas," official report of
the U. S. Weather Bureau.
2In 1900 the wind was estimated to have reached 12o miles per hour, but the
official record was lost at 6 P.M. on September 8. The tide reached fifteen feet. Isaac
M. Cline, Tropical Hurricanes (New York, 1926), 246. In 1915 the official wind
velocity reached ninety-one miles per hour, and the tide reached 11.7 feet. Galveston
Daily News, September 24, 1961; Ernest Carson to M.S.H., signed statement, No-
vember 8, 1961.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/. Accessed May 3, 2015.