Wind howls the leaves off the trees because that’s what wind does

A friend of mine insists she likes hurricanes. She wants to see a category 4 storm. Although I never go running north or west (east and north would put me in The Gulf of Mexico) when big storms are predicted, three is enough for me. Here are my hurricane stories.

There is a story in our family that my mom, who had never seen a hurricane, got her chance when my dad was stationed in Lake Charles LA in 1943. It turned out to be not a BIG storm, but…as the story goes…she went outside, wrapped her arms around a pillar on the front porch and watched “her” hurricane.

I looked it up to find out it wasn’t so big…September 15-19th, 1943: Storm tides reached 4 feet in Lake Pontchartrain as a dying tropical storm made landfall east of Lake Charles. Very heavy rain occurred throughout Southern Louisiana, with 19.26″ falling at Morgan City.

While I was at it I looked up the hurricane that the old timers here say is responsible for the terrible and dangerous sidewalks and driveways close to the bay. It happened long before I moved here, but most of the sidewalks and drives have not been repaired and every time the ground shifts (which is often) they get worse. Corpus has this goofy rule…walks are city property, but the house owner is responsible for maintenance ($)..and need a permit ($) to fix them. We had our sidewalk and part of our driveway redone several years ago. We just had the rest of the driveway done last month. I wish I had kept before pictures to show you. At least now we have a smooth entry and exit and the walkers, roller-bladers and skateboarders appreciate the smooth stretch of sidewalk. Three other houses on the block also have new cement work so there is progress at long last!
The trouble maker: Hurricane Celia–A powerful Category Three Hurricane that came ashore in the Corpus Christi area during the 1970 season. Sustained winds were 130 mph, which made it a strong Category Three Hurricane. Winds gusted as high as 161 mph, and ended up being the costliest storm at the time. Some other areas received wind gusts as high as 180 mph. Celia became the third major hurricane to strike the Texas Gulf Coast behind Hurricane Carla (1961) and Hurricane Beulah (1967). Today, it still ranks quite high as the National Hurricane Center places it 24th on the all time list with $453 billion dollars in damage. The silver lining in all of this was the fact that only 11 people died from the storm even though 466 people were injured, 9,000 homes were destroyed, 14,000 homes were significantly damaged, and another 41,000 suffered minor damage

Hurricane Bret in 1999 is listed as a small hurricane, but I beg to differ. I was here for that one. It is blamed for several deaths and even a 2 on the scale* is nothing to sneeze at. Personally I can attest to boat damage. The marina where ours was moored, and properly tied up, had on the docks improperly installed cleats which pulled out and caused damage to our boat and the one next to it. Padre Island was under mandatory evacuation orders. Friends of ours who lived on the island stayed with us for two days. Kind of an adult sleep-over.
Bret’s center crossed the Texas coast over the central portion of Padre Island, midway between Brownsville and Corpus Christi, at 0000 UTC, 23 August. It had weakened to a category three hurricane with 100 knot winds and a pressure of 951mb by the time of landfall. After moving inland, Bret’s movement became more westward with a slow forward speed. Bret continued to weaken as it moved across south Texas and into the high terrain of north central Mexico where it dissipated on the 25th. Numerous homes in the affected regions were damaged or destroyed, leaving roughly 150 people homeless. In all, the storm caused $15 million in damage.



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