Hurricane Carla
Overview
 
Hurricane Carla was one of two Category 5 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...

s during the 1961 Atlantic hurricane season
1961 Atlantic hurricane season
The 1961 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 15, 1961, and lasted until November 15, 1961. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The season had seven major hurricanes, the second highest number on...

. It struck the Texas
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...

 coast as a Category 4 hurricane, becoming one of the most powerful storms to ever strike the United States. Hurricane Carla was the second most intense storm to ever strike the Texas coast. The storm caused over $2 billion (2005 US dollars) in damages, but due to the evacuation of over 500,000 residents the death toll was only 43.
A tropical depression developed in the western Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 on September 3 from a disturbance 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....

.
Encyclopedia
Hurricane Carla was one of two Category 5 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...

s during the 1961 Atlantic hurricane season
1961 Atlantic hurricane season
The 1961 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 15, 1961, and lasted until November 15, 1961. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin. The season had seven major hurricanes, the second highest number on...

. It struck the Texas
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...

 coast as a Category 4 hurricane, becoming one of the most powerful storms to ever strike the United States. Hurricane Carla was the second most intense storm to ever strike the Texas coast. The storm caused over $2 billion (2005 US dollars) in damages, but due to the evacuation of over 500,000 residents the death toll was only 43.

Meteorological history

A tropical depression developed in the western Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 on September 3 from a disturbance 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....

. It moved northwestward, becoming Tropical Storm Carla on the 5th and Hurricane Carla on the 6th. After skimming the Yucatán 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...

 as a weak hurricane, Carla entered the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

 and headed for the U.S. Gulf Coast.

As it moved slowly across the Gulf of Mexico, Carla steadily strengthened to its peak of 175 mph (280 km/h) winds (Category 5 intensity) on September 11. Just before landfall, it weakened, but Carla was still a very strong and unusually large Category 4 hurricane at its landfall between Port O'Connor
Port O'Connor, Texas
Port O'Connor is an unincorporated village in Calhoun County, Texas, United States, on the coastline between Galveston and Corpus Christi. The ZIP Code Tabulation Area including Port O'Connor had a population of 1,078 at the 2000 census...

 and Port Lavaca, Texas
Port Lavaca, Texas
Port Lavaca is a city in Calhoun County, Texas, United States. The population was 12,248 at the 2010 census. The County had a 3.6% growth which brought the county population to 21,381. The city itself is bringing in more business into the area. It is the county seat of Calhoun County...

, on the 11th. At the time, Carla became the largest hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin. Along the entire Texas coast, hurricane warnings were put into effect, causing a large evacuation of low-lying areas.

Impact

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...

 was measured at 22 feet (6.6 m) near the heads of bays, in some places penetrating 10 miles inland. Because of its large size, the entire Texas coast was affected, and damage was reported as far inland as Dallas. Sustained winds were reported to be 115 mph in Matagorda
Matagorda, Texas
Matagorda is an unincorporated community in Matagorda County, Texas, United States. It had a population of approximately 710 in 2000. Matagorda is at the end of State Highway 60 and beginning of Farm to Market Road 2031, which runs over the Intracoastal Waterway and south to the Gulf of Mexico...

, 110 mph in Victoria
Victoria, Texas
Victoria is a city in and the seat of Victoria County, Texas, United States. The population was 60,603 at the 2000 census. The three counties of the Victoria Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 111,163 at the 2000 census,...

 and 88 mph in Galveston
Galveston, Texas
Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island in the U.S. state of Texas. , the city had a total population of 47,743 within an area of...

. Wind gusts as high as 170 mph were recorded at Port Lavaca. Pressure at landfall was measured at 931 mb (hPa
Pascal (unit)
The pascal is the SI derived unit of pressure, internal pressure, stress, Young's modulus and tensile strength, named after the French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, and philosopher Blaise Pascal. It is a measure of force per unit area, defined as one newton per square metre...

), making it the eighth most intense hurricane to strike the United States in the 20th century. Then little-known newsman Dan Rather
Dan Rather
Daniel Irvin "Dan" Rather, Jr. is an American journalist and the former news anchor for the CBS Evening News. He is now managing editor and anchor of the television news magazine Dan Rather Reports on the cable channel HDNet. Rather was anchor of the CBS Evening News for 24 years, from March 9,...

 reported live from the Galveston Seawall
Galveston Seawall
The Galveston Seawall is a seawall in Galveston, Texas, USA that was built after the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 for protection from future hurricanes. Construction began in September, 1902, and the initial segment was completed on July 29, 1904. From 1904 to 1963, the seawall was extended from ...

 during the storm, an act that would be imitated by later reporters. This marked the first live television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 broadcast of a hurricane.
Much of the damage was done well away from the landfall site, as Carla spawned one of the largest hurricane-related tornado
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...

 outbreaks on record at the time, when 26 tornadoes touched down within its circulation. One F4 tornado ripped through downtown Galveston, killing several (sources differ on the exact number, varying from 6 to 12). Outside the protection of the Galveston Seawall
Galveston Seawall
The Galveston Seawall is a seawall in Galveston, Texas, USA that was built after the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 for protection from future hurricanes. Construction began in September, 1902, and the initial segment was completed on July 29, 1904. From 1904 to 1963, the seawall was extended from ...

, structures on the island were severely damaged by storm surge. Damage was reported as far east as the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 delta.
As Carla weakened, it dropped heavy rain in the Midwest , causing some flooding.

Carla killed 43 people, 31 of them in Texas. The low death toll is credited to what was then the largest peacetime evacuation in US history. Half of a million residents headed inland from exposed coastal areas. Carla caused a total of $325 million (1961 USD, $2.36 billion 2010 USD) in damage, not much considering Carla's strength at landfall.

Retirement

Owing to the intensity of and destruction by the storm, the name Carla was retired, and will never again be used for an Atlantic hurricane. It was replaced by Carol in the 1965 season
1965 Atlantic hurricane season
The 1965 Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1, 1965, and lasted until November 30, 1965. These dates conventionally delimit the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic basin....

.

See also

  • List of tropical cyclones
  • List of Atlantic hurricanes
  • List of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes
  • Loop Current
    Loop Current
    A parent to the Florida Current, the Loop Current is a warm ocean current in the Gulf of Mexico that flows northward between Cuba and the Yucatán peninsula, moves north into the Gulf of Mexico, loops east and south before exiting to the east through the Florida Straits and joining the Gulf Stream.A...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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