Hurricane Beulah
Hurricane Beulah was the second tropical storm, second hurricane, and only major hurricane during the 1967 Atlantic hurricane season
1967 Atlantic hurricane season
The 1967 Atlantic hurricane season was the first year in which the National Hurricane Center was in operation. The season began on June 1, which was the date when the NHC activated radar stations across the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico...

. It tracked through the Caribbean, struck the Yucatán peninsula of Mexico as a major hurricane, and moved west-northwest into the Gulf of Mexico, briefly gaining Category 5
Category 5
Category 5 may refer to:*Category 5 , an album from rock band, FireHouse*Category 5 cable, used for carrying data*Category 5 computer virus, as classified by Symantec Corporation*Category 5 Records, a record label...

 intensity. It was the strongest hurricane during the 1967 Atlantic hurricane season
Atlantic hurricane season
The Atlantic hurricane season is the period in a year when hurricanes usually form in the Atlantic Ocean. Tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic are called hurricanes, tropical storms, or tropical depressions. In addition, there have been several storms over the years that have not been fully...

. The hurricane made landfall in northeastern Mexico with winds near 160 mph (72 m/s). The cyclone then weakened before moving into Texas as a major hurricane. It spawned 115 tornado
A tornado is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. They are often referred to as a twister or a cyclone, although the word cyclone is used in meteorology in a wider...

es across Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, which established a new record for the highest amount of tornadoes produced by a tropical cyclone
Tropical cyclone
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor...

. Due to its slow movement over Texas, Beulah led to significant flooding. At the time, Beulah ranked as the second-costliest hurricane on record, having left roughly $1 billion (1967 USD
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

) in damage. Only Hurricane Betsy
Hurricane Betsy
Hurricane Betsy was a Category 4 hurricane of the 1965 Atlantic hurricane season which caused enormous damage in the Bahamas, Florida, and Louisiana. Betsy made its most intense landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River, causing significant flooding of the waters of Lake Pontchartrain into...

 two years prior had caused such considerable losses. Throughout it's path, at least 688 people were killed.

Meteorological history

A convective area in the Intertropical Convergence Zone
Intertropical Convergence Zone
The Intertropical Convergence Zone , known by sailors as The Doldrums, is the area encircling the earth near the equator where winds originating in the northern and southern hemispheres come together....

 (ITCZ) developed into a tropical depression on September 5 east of the Lesser Antilles
Lesser Antilles
The Lesser Antilles are a long, partly volcanic island arc in the Western Hemisphere. Most of its islands form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean, with the remainder located in the southern Caribbean just north of South America...

. It moved slowly through the islands, and on September 7 it became Tropical Storm Beulah. The next day Beulah reached hurricane strength while continuing slowly west-northwestward. It began to rapidly intensify, reaching an initial peak of 150 miles per hour (241.4 km/h) winds while south of the Mona Passage
Mona Passage
The Mona Passage is a strait that separates the islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. The Mona Passage connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and is an important shipping route between the Atlantic and the Panama Canal....

. It passed south of Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

. Land interaction and upper level shear greatly weakened the hurricane to a 60 mi/h tropical storm.

Once over the western Caribbean, favorable conditions again returned, letting Beulah strengthen to a 115 miles per hour (185.1 km/h) major hurricane. On September 16, Beulah weakened and made landfall near Cozumel
Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatan Channel. Cozumel is one of the ten municipalities of the state of Quintana Roo...

, Mexico, as a 100 miles per hour (160.9 km/h) hurricane. It weakened slightly over land, but once over the Gulf of Mexico, conditions were very favorable. It rapidly intensified, reaching its peak as a Category 5 storm with 160 miles per hour (257.5 km/h) winds. In terms of size, Beulah became the third largest hurricane on record, at the time.

Subsequently, Hurricane Beulah made landfall south of the mouth of the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

 as a Category 5 storm. However, the hurricane weakened over land and produced Category 3 conditions in Texas. Beulah drifted over Texas, moving southwestward into Mexico where it dissipated on September 22.


Beginning on the afternoon of September 17, people were advised to remain off the beaches of Padre, Mustang, and St. Joseph Islands. Immediate evacuation of Port Aransas and Mustang, Padre, and St. Joseph Islands was advised on the morning of September 19. Most residents and others on the islands evacuated, including the personnel of Padre Island National Seashore. About 40 persons remained on the islands, including about 20 at Port Aransas. Immediate evacuation of Rockport and Live Oak and Lamar Peninsulas was advised in the evening of September 19. These areas and the towns of Ingleside and Aransas Pass were nearly completely evacuated. About 50 persons remained in Rockport. The evacuation of the University of Corpus Christi was advised on the morning of September 20, and Corpus Christi Beach and parts of Flour Bluff were also evacuated. During the storm there were 30,000 people in shelters in Nueces and San Patricio Counties, including 6,000 in Corpus Christi.


The periphery of the hurricane brought rainfall primarily to southwestern Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, where a maximum of 9.76 inches (247.9 mm) fell at Maricao. Only one death occurred in Hispaniola, due to proper evacuations, as opposed to Hurricane Inez
Hurricane Inez
Hurricane Inez was a deadly, destructive, powerful and very long-lived Cape Verde-type hurricane that carved an erratic path through the Lesser Antilles, Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas, Florida, and Mexico in 1966...

 a year earlier that caused 1,000 deaths.

Across the French island of Martinique, the then tropical storm wrought severe damage and killed at least 13 people. Many homes were destroyed and the island's banana crop was lost due to 3 ft (0.9144 m) flood waters.


Striking Cozumel Island and the Yucatan Peninsula
Yucatán Peninsula
The Yucatán Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, with the northern coastline on the Yucatán Channel...

 on September 17 as Category 2 hurricane, Beulah caused considerable damage and killed 11 people across the region. Wind gusts up to 125 mph (205 km/h) severed communication lines, downed power lines and felled trees. In Mérida, Yucatán
Mérida, Yucatán
Mérida is the capital and largest city of the Mexican state of Yucatán and the Yucatán Peninsula. It is located in the northwest part of the state, about from the Gulf of Mexico coast...

, winds were recorded up to 75 mph (120 km/h). Under the force of the powerful winds, several structures collapsed across the Peninsula, resulting in six fatalities. Nearly every buildings on Cozumel Island sustained damage, roughly half of which lost their roofs. Four people were also killed in Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is a balneario resort city just south of Cancún on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, in the northeast of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The city is the seat of the Solidaridad municipality. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 149,923 people and it is rapidly growing...

. Along the coast, Beulah's storm surge
Storm surge
A storm surge is an offshore rise of water associated with a low pressure weather system, typically tropical cyclones and strong extratropical cyclones. Storm surges are caused primarily by high winds pushing on the ocean's surface. The wind causes the water to pile up higher than the ordinary sea...

 flooded areas within 600 yd (548.6 m) of the coastline, washing out roads and leaving "graveyards of boats." Throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, an estimated 5,000 people were left homeless and at least 30,000 were affected by the storm.

Throughout Mexico, Beulah killed 630 people.

United States

In Texas upon landfall, an 18 feet (5.5 m) to 20 feet (6.1 m) storm surge inundated lower Padre Island. The force of the storm tide made 31 cuts completely through the barrier island. Padre Island
Padre Island
Padre Island is part of the U.S. state of Texas. The island is located on Texas' southern coast of the Gulf of Mexico and is famous for its white sandy beaches at the south end...

 suffered significant devastation, and the island's sensitive ecosystem was altered by the storm. The highest sustained wind was reported as 136 miles per hour (218.9 km/h), recorded in the town of South Padre Island
South Padre Island, Texas
South Padre Island is a town in Cameron County, Texas, United States. It is part of the Brownsville–Harlingen Metropolitan Statistical Area. It may be included as part of the Brownsville–Harlingen–Raymondville and the Matamoros–Brownsville metropolitan areas. The population was 2,816 at the...

, across the Laguna Madre from Port Isabel
Port Isabel, Texas
Port Isabel is a city in Cameron County, Texas, United States. It is part of the Brownsville–Harlingen–Raymondville and the Matamoros–Brownsville metropolitan areas...

. Winds as high as 109 miles per hour (175.4 km/h) were measured at the Brownsville National Weather Service office at landfall. Since the hurricane bent the anemometer
An anemometer is a device for measuring wind speed, and is a common weather station instrument. The term is derived from the Greek word anemos, meaning wind, and is used to describe any airspeed measurement instrument used in meteorology or aerodynamics...

 30 degrees from the vertical, it is possible the winds at Brownsville were underestimated. Gusts of over 100 miles per hour (160.9 km/h) were recorded as far inland as the towns of McAllen
McAllen, Texas
McAllen is the largest city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States. It is located at the southern tip of Texas in an area known as the Rio Grande Valley and is part of the . Its southern boundary is located about five miles from the U.S.–Mexico border and the Mexican city of Reynosa, the Rio...

, Edinburg
Edinburg, Texas
Edinburg is a city in and the county seat of Hidalgo County, Texas, United States. The population was 77,100 at the 2010 census. The University of Texas–Pan American, the only fully accredited four-year university in the Rio Grande Valley, is located in Edinburg.Edinburg is part of the...

, Mission
Mission, Texas
Mission is a city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States. The population was 77,058 at the 2010 census Mission is part of the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission and Reynosa–McAllen metropolitan areas.-Geography:Mission is located at ....

, and Pharr
Pharr, Texas
Pharr is a city in Hidalgo County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 70,400. Pharr is connected by bridge to the Mexican city of Reynosa, Tamaulipas...

, some 50 miles (80.5 km) from the gulf coast. Beulah spawned a record 115 tornado
A tornado is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. They are often referred to as a twister or a cyclone, although the word cyclone is used in meteorology in a wider...

es which destroyed homes, commercial property, and inflicted serious damage on the region's agricultural industry. The tornado record from Beulah would survive until Hurricane Ivan
Hurricane Ivan
Hurricane Ivan was a large, long-lived, Cape Verde-type hurricane that caused widespread damage in the Caribbean and United States. The cyclone was the ninth named storm, the sixth hurricane and the fourth major hurricane of the active 2004 Atlantic hurricane season...

 set a new record in 2004. The Rio Grande Valley
Rio Grande Valley
The Rio Grande Valley or the Lower Rio Grande Valley, informally called The Valley, is an area located in the southernmost tip of South Texas...

's citrus industry, based on cultivation of the famous "Ruby Red" grapefruit
The grapefruit , is a subtropical citrus tree known for its sour fruit, an 18th-century hybrid first bred in Barbados. When found, it was named the "forbidden fruit"; it has also been misidentified with the pomelo or shaddock , one of the parents of this hybrid, the other being sweet orange The...

, was particularly hard hit.

The lower Rio Grande Valley, the four county region that comprises deep south Texas, was inundated with torrential rains. Within a 36 hour period it dropped over 27 inches (685.8 mm) of rain near Beeville, Texas
Beeville, Texas
Beeville is a city in Bee County, Texas, United States. The population was 13,129 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Bee County...

. Falfurrias received more rain from Beulah than it normally records during one year. Areas south of Laredo, San Antonio, and Matagorda were isolated for more than a week due to the resulting flood. On September 28, President Lyndon Baines Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 declared twenty-four counties in southern Texas a disaster area.

Animal life in the region responded in various ways to survive. Ants survived the floods by congregating in spheres of living colonies and floated down streams to safety. Predaceous beetle larvae preyed on frogs and rodents. Crustaceans from the beaches migrated en masse to the protection of high ground.

Hurricane Beulah caused an estimated US$1.41 billion (2010 dollars) in damage. Sources report either 58 or 59 total deaths from the storm.


Across the Yucatan Peninsula, the Government of Mexico set up an air lift of food and medical supplies to isolated areas by September 18.

The name Beulah was retired and will never be used for an Atlantic hurricane again; it was replaced with Beth
1971 Atlantic hurricane season
The 1971 Atlantic hurricane season was fairly active with several notable storms. Hurricane Edith, the strongest of the season, was a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, the highest category on the scale. It struck Nicaragua at peak intensity, killing dozens, and later hit southern Louisiana...

 in 1971.

See also

External links

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