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One Hundred Years of Southeast Texas Weather (1900-2000)

Southeast Texas endures a variety of weather every year. This area suffers droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and at times an occasional dose of winter weather. An informal poll was taken at the Houston/Galveston National Weather Service Office recently to determine a list of the ten most significant weather events to affect southeast Texas in the last hundred years. It was difficult to narrow this list to just ten events and there are probably other weather events which are comparable and merit notice. Here is the southeast Texas top ten list of significant weather events as determined by the meteorologists at the National Weather Service.

There are dozens of other significant and interesting weather phenomena which are worthy of being mentioned on this list. No one knows for sure what the next hundred years of weather will be like in southeast Texas, but if the last hundred years was any indication, it will certainly be interesting and at times very challenging.

Honorable Mention 10T 10T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


 

HONORABLE MENTION:
DECEMBER 8 1935 HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD
  • HEAVY RAIN PRODUCED WIDESPREAD FLOODING ACROSS HARRIS COUNTY
  • BUFFALO BAYOU ROSE TO AN UNPRECEDENTED 52 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL (NORMAL WAS 6 FEET) AT THE CAPITOL STREET BRIDGE
  • FLOOD WATERS ROSE TO THE SECOND AND THIRD FLOORS AT MANY DOWNTOWN BUILDINGS
  • HOUSTON'S CENTRAL WATER PLANT WAS UNDER WATER AND INOPERABLE FOR WEEKS
  • DAMAGE ESTIMATED AT $12.6 MILLION DOLLARS#
  • THE IMPACT OF THIS FLOOD WAS SO SEVERE...THAT THE HARRIS COUNTY FLOOD CONTROL DISTRICT WAS CREATED TO ALLEVIATE THE FLOODING PROBLEMS WHICH PLAGUED THE CITY
# - Monetary values assigned to storms are from the year of the event. Values have not been adjusted for inflation.


 

10. 1951 ICE STORM - JANUARY 29-FEBRUARY 2, 1951 (TIE)
  • THE TEMPERATURE IN HOUSTON DROPPED BELOW FREEZING ON JANUARY 29 AND DID NOT RISE ABOVE FREEZING UNTIL FEBRUARY 2. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE DURING THIS 123 HOUR PERIOD WAS 28.0 DEGREES
  • 1.42 INCHES OF LIQUID PRECIPITATION FELL DURING THIS COLD SPELL PRODUCING ONE OF THE WORST ICE STORMS IN CITY HISTORY RESULTING IN TREMENDOUS AGRICULTURAL AND LIVESTOCK LOSSES
  • COLLEGE STATION REMAINED BELOW FREEZING FOR 4 CONSECUTIVE DAYS AND GALVESTON REMAINED BELOW FREEZING FOR 3 CONSECUTIVE DAYS


 

10. SUMMER HEAT WAVE OF 1980 (TIE)
  • HOUSTON REPORTED 32 DAYS WITH HIGH TEMPERATURES AT OR EXCEEDING 100 DEGREES
  • BEGINNING ON JULY 6...HOUSTON ENDURED 14 CONSECUTIVE 100 DEGREE DAYS
  • HOUSTON'S ALL-TIME HIGH RECORD OF 107 DEGREES OCCURRED ON AUGUST 23 1980
  • COLLEGE STATION REPORTED 43 DAYS IN WHICH THE HIGH TEMPERATURE REACHED OR EXCEEDED 100 DEGREES


 

9. ARCTIC OUTBREAKS OF DECEMBER 1983 AND 1989
  • DECEMBER OF 1989 WAS THE COLDEST MONTH IN HISTORY FOR GALVESTON... HOUSTON AND COLLEGE STATION. DECEMBER OF 1983 WAS THE SECOND COLDEST MONTH FOR THE SAME LOCATIONS
  • ON DECEMBER 22 1989...HOUSTON RECEIVED 1.7 INCHES OF SNOW WHILE GALVESTON RECEIVED AN INCH; IT WAS THE LAST MEASURABLE SNOW FOR EACH LOCATION
  • COLDEST DECEMBER TEMPERATURES EVER RECORDED ACROSS THE AREA. ON DECEMBER 23 1989...COLLEGE STATION HAD A LOW OF 2 DEGREES...HOUSTON HAD A LOW OF 7 DEGREES AND GALVESTON HAD A LOW TEMPERATURE OF 14 DEGREES
  • IN 1983...HOUSTON REMAINED BELOW FREEZING FOR ALMOST FIVE CONSECUTIVE DAYS WHILE COLLEGE STATION HAD MORNING LOWS IN THE TEENS FOR FIVE CONSECUTIVE MORNINGS


 

8. 1917 HEAT WAVE AND DROUGHT
  • THE DRIEST YEAR ON RECORD FOR SOUTHEAST TEXAS WITH COLLEGE STATION REPORTING AN ANNUAL RAINFALL TOTAL OF 16.66 INCHES AND HOUSTON REPORTING AN ANNUAL RAINFALL TOTAL OF 17.66 INCHES
  • AN EXTREMELY HOT SUMMER AS COLLEGE STATION RECORDED 26 CONSECUTIVE DAYS OF 100 DEGREE TEMPERATURES OR GREATER
  • COLLEGE STATION ALSO RECORDED FIVE DAYS WITH TEMPERATURES AT OR ABOVE 106 DEGREES WITH THE ALL-TIME HIGH TEMPERATURE OF 110 DEGREES OCCURRING ON JULY 11 1917


 

7. NOVEMBER 1992 TORNADO OUTBREAK - NOVEMBER 21, 1992
  • A LINE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS PRODUCED 18 TORNADOES ACROSS SOUTHEAST TEXAS
  • 34 PERSONS INJURED...NO ONE WAS KILLED
  • F4 TORNADO RIPPED THROUGH CHANNELVIEW DESTROYING OVER 200 HOMES AND DAMAGING ANOTHER 1000
  • F2 TORNADO SLICED THROUGH HOUSTON FROM NEAR HERMAN PARK TO INTERCONTINENTAL AIRPORT DAMAGING OVER 600 STRUCTURES
  • TOTAL DAMAGE ESTIMATED NEAR $105 MILLION DOLLARS#
# - Monetary values assigned to storms are from the year of the event. Values have not been adjusted for inflation.


 

6. TROPICAL STORM CLAUDETTE - JULY 24-26, 1979
  • 24 HOUR DELUGE JUST SOUTH OF HOUSTON PRODUCING A 24 HOUR UNITED STATES RAINFALL RECORD OF 43.0 INCHES 2 MILES EAST NORTHEAST OF ALVIN. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN ALVIN REPORTED 28.7 INCHES OF RAIN IN 20 HOURS
  • CLEAR CREEK EXPANDED TO A WIDTH GREATER THAN A MILE...RISING 9 FEET ABOVE NORMAL
  • 15,000 HOMES AND 17,000 AUTOMOBILES DAMAGED BY FLOOD WATERS
  • TOTAL DAMAGE ESTIMATED NEAR $750 MILLION DOLLARS#
# - Monetary values assigned to storms are from the year of the event. Values have not been adjusted for inflation.


 

5. GALVESTON HURRICANE OF 1915 - AUGUST 17, 1915
  • 275 PERSONS KILLED
  • OVER $50 MILLION DOLLARS IN PROPERTY DAMAGE#
  • THE FIRST MAJOR HURRICANE SINCE THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE GALVESTON SEAWALL
  • SUSTAINED WINDS OF 120 MPH PRODUCED A 16 FOOT STORM SURGE
# - Monetary values assigned to storms are from the year of the event. Values have not been adjusted for inflation.


 

4. THE OCTOBER 1994 FLOODS - OCTOBER 17-21, 1994
  • 2-3 DAYS OF HEAVY RAIN PRODUCED WIDESPREAD FLOODING OVER MUCH OF THE REGION
  • 17 PERSONS KILLED
  • DAMAGE TO HOMES...BRIDGES...AGRICULTURE ESTIMATED TO EXCEED $900 MILLION DOLLARS#
  • OVER 22,000 HOMES FLOODED
  • RECORD LAKE LEVELS AT LAKE CONROE...LAKE LIVINGSTON AND LAKE HOUSTON WITH A RECORD HIGH RELEASE (FLOW) OF 110,000 CUBIC FEET PER SECOND AT LAKE LIVINGSTON
  • RUPTURED FUEL PIPELINES PRODUCED A FIRE ON THE SAN JACINTO RIVER
  • OVER 10,000 PEOPLE DISPLACED FROM THEIR HOMES AND 25 COUNTIES WERE DECLARED FEDERAL DISASTER AREAS
# - Monetary values assigned to storms are from the year of the event. Values have not been adjusted for inflation.


 

3. HURRICANE CARLA - SEPTEMBER 11, 1961
  • A STRONG CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE WHICH MADE LANDFALL NEAR PORT O'CONNOR
  • SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR 125 MPH WITH GUSTS ESTIMATED NEAR 175 MPH
  • CARLA PRODUCED A 22 FOOT STORM SURGE IN MATAGORDA BAY
  • OVER 40 PERSONS KILLED
  • CARLA SPAWNED A STRONG F3 TORNADO WHICH DESTROYED PARTS OF DOWNTOWN GALVESTON AND KILLED OVER A DOZEN PERSONS


 

2. HURRICANE ALICIA - AUGUST 18, 1983
  • FIRST BILLION DOLLAR STORM TO AFFECT THE TEXAS COAST WITH DAMAGE ESTIMATED NEAR $2 BILLION DOLLARS#
  • 21 PERSONS KILLED WITH OVER 7000 INJURED
  • SUSTAINED WINDS MEASURED AT 115 MPH WITH GUSTS IN EXCESS OF 125 MPH
  • ALICIA PRODUCED 23 TORNADOES
# - Monetary values assigned to storms are from the year of the event. Values have not been adjusted for inflation.


 

1. THE GREAT STORM - SEPTEMBER 8, 1900
(also known as the 1900 Galveston Hurricane)
  • DEATH TOLL ESTIMATED BETWEEN 6,000 AND 8,000
  • GREATEST NATURAL DISASTER IN U.S. HISTORY IN TERMS OF LIVES LOST
  • SUSTAINED WINDS WERE IN EXCESS OF 130 MPH
  • STORM TIDES REACHED 20 FEET
  • STORM DAMAGE WAS ESTIMATED IN EXCESS OF $30 MILLION DOLLARS#
# - Monetary values assigned to storms are from the year of the event. Values have not been adjusted for inflation.

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