Significant Weather, 1700s and 1800s

The weather has played a significant role in Texas history. Updated 2 years ago
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        Sept. 4, 1766: Hurricane. Galveston Bay. Spanish Mission Nuestra Señora de la Luz destroyed.

       Sept. 12, 1818: Hurricane. Galveston Island. Salt water flowed four feet deep. Only six buildings remained habitable. Of the six vessels and two barges in the harbor, even the two not seriously damaged were reduced to dismasted hulks. Pirate Jean Lafitte moved to one hulk so his Red House might serve as a hospital.

       Aug. 6, 1844: Hurricane. Mouth of Rio Grande. All houses destroyed at the mouth of the river and at Brazos Santiago, eight miles north; 70 lives lost.

       Sept. 19, 1854: Hurricane. It struck near Matagorda, and moved inland, northwestward over Columbus. Main impact fell in Matagorda and Lavaca bays. Almost all buildings in Matagorda were destroyed. Four lives were lost in town; more lives were lost on the peninsula.

       Oct. 3, 1867: Hurricane. This hurricane moved inland south of Galveston, but raked the entire Texas coast from the Rio Grande to the Sabine. Bagdad and Clarksville, towns at the mouth of the Rio Grande, were destroyed. Much of Galveston was flooded and property damage there was estimated at $1 million.

       Sept. 16, 1875: Hurricane. Struck Indianola, Calhoun County. Three-fourths of town swept away; 176 lives lost. Flooding from the bay caused nearly all destruction.

       Aug. 13, 1880: Hurricane. Center struck Matamoros, Mexico; lower Texas coast affected.

       Oct. 12–13, 1880: Hurricane. Brownsville. City nearly destroyed, many lives lost.

       Dec. 29, 1880: Snow. Brownsville. A rare snowstorm in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

       Aug. 23–24, 1882: Torrential rains caused flooding on the North and South Concho and Bosque rivers (South Concho reported 45 feet above normal level), destroying Benficklen, then county seat of Tom Green County, leaving only the courthouse and jail. More than 50 persons drowned in Tom Green and Erath counties, with property damage at $200,000 and 10,000 to 15,000 head of livestock lost.

       Aug. 19–21, 1886: Hurricane. Indianola. Every house destroyed or damaged. Indianola was never rebuilt.

       Oct. 12, 1886: Hurricane. Sabine, Jefferson County. Hurricane passed over Sabine. The inundation extended 20 miles inland and nearly every house in the vicinity was moved from its foundation; 150 persons were drowned.

       April 28, 1893: Tornado. Cisco, Eastland County; 23 killed, 93 injured; damage $400,000.

       Feb. 1895: Freeze/Snow. Coastal Texas. What is probably the greatest heavy-snow anomally in the climatic history of the U.S. resulted from a snowstorm along the Texas coast on the 14th–15th. Houston; Orange; Stafford, Fort Bend County; and Columbus, Colorado County, each reported a snowfall of 20 inches. Galveston had a snowfall of 15.4 inches. Snow fell as far south as the Lower Rio Grande Valley, where Brownsville received 5 inches. The Lower Valley had lows of 22°F the 14th through the 17th, destroying the vegetable crops.

       May 15, 1896: Tornadoes, Sherman, Grayson County; Justin and Gribble Springs, Denton County; 76 killed; damage $225,000.

       Sept. 12, 1897: Hurricane. Many houses in Port Arthur were demolished; 13 killed, damage $150,000.

       May 1, 1898: Tornado. Mobeetie, Wheeler County. Four killed, several injured; damage $35,000.

       Feb. 11–13, 1899: Freeze. A disastrous cold wave throughout the state. Newspapers described it as the worst freeze ever known in the state. Brownsville’s temperature reach 16°F on the 12th and remained below freezing through the 13th. Much destruction of vegetable crops.

       June 27–July 1, 1899: Rainstorm. A storm, centered over the Brazos River watershed, precipitated an average of 17 inches over 7,000 square miles. At Hearne, the gage overflowed at 24 inches; estimated total rainfall was 30 inches. At Turnersville, Coryell County, 33 inches were recorded in three days. This rain caused the worst Brazos River flood on record. Between 30 and 35 lives were lost. Property damage was estimated at $9 million.


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