In the Eye of the Storm: 5 Hurricanes That Impacted the Lone Star State

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Tony Maples Photography


On Friday, Aug. 25, what was thought to be the largest hurricane to affect Texas since 1961 hurled itself into the state’s central coastline, bringing with it torrential rain and wind gusts in excess of 130 mph. By landfall, the storm was a category four, and at the time of this story, Harvey’s long term effects remain to be seen, but weather experts believe the damage will be catastrophic, making this storm one for the record books.

However, Harvey is not the first hurricane to have a major impact on the Texas landscape and economy. Below is a list of five hurricanes that wreaked havoc on the state and brought with them the loss of property, and most tragically, loss of life.

1. 1900—Galveston Hurricane

1900 Damage from Galveston Hurricane

Photo: Facebook/Angel Muniz Arquitecto

Tragically, on Sept. 8, 1900, a category four hurricane pummeled the coastal city of Galveston leaving death and destruction in its wake. It is estimated anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 people lost their lives after vacationers and locals ignored a warning from the U.S. Weather Bureau to flee to higher ground. To this day, the immense loss of life has not been repeated in any other weather-related disaster in America.

2. 1961—Hurricane Carla

1961 damage from hurricane Carla

Photo: Facebook/Traces of Texas

Before there was Harvey, Hurricane Carla ravaged the Texas coast 56 years ago. The category four storm caused a mass exodus (the largest peace-time evacuation in history at the time it occurred), as people fled the onset of the monster tempest. Altogether, 34 lives were lost and $408 million worth of damage was done.

3. 1999—Hurricane Bret

1999 Residents prep for Hurricane Bret

Photo: Facebook/Dennis Owen

In 1999, the city of Corpus Christi narrowly missed a direct pummeling from Hurricane Bret. However, before making landfall the category three storm changed direction and landed in the less populated area of Padre Island. Although the storm was intense, the final count of deaths indirectly attributed to it was four. Total damages accumulated to approximately $60 million in Texas.

4. 2005—Hurricane Rita

In the Eye of the Storm: 5 Hurricanes That Impacted the Lone Star State


In 2005, the United States experienced a record-setting hurricane season. It was during this time that disastrous storms like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Wilma struck different portions of the country. As residents of the gulf coast states were trying to deal with the effects of the former, Hurricane Rita began to form in the waters of the Bahamas. At one point, it reached category five status but was downgraded to a category three by the time it made landfall around the Texas/Louisiana border.

Rita brought with it an onslaught and deluge of rains and heavy winds, which led to major flooding issues in some southeastern counties in Texas and exasperated recovery efforts in nearby Louisiana. This natural disaster was directly responsible for seven deaths and indirectly related to several more. Moreover, it caused $10 billion dollars worth of damage throughout the areas it affected.

5. 2008—Hurricane Ike

2008 Damage from Hurricane Ike

Photo: Facebook/Traces of Texas

In September 2008, the last substantial hurricane to strike the Texas coast, Hurricane Ike, blasted the area just north of Galveston Island. A category two storm, Ike cut a swath of destruction hundreds of miles wide and ravished the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas. Research published in 2011 estimated the hurricane was directly responsible for 10 deaths and indirectly responsible for up to 49 deaths in the state. Additionally, a total of $37.5 billion worth of damage occurred in the U.S.

The Lone Star State has seen its fair share of natural disasters. Not all of them made their way onto this list, however, those compiled here certainly left their mark on Texas’ history. The question of where Hurricane Harvey will find itself ranked among the ever-growing list of disastrous hurricanes is one that can only be answered in the weeks that lie ahead.


Wikipedia (Information for Hurricanes Ike, Bret, and Rita),

National Hurricane Center

The Weather Channel

KTRK-TV Houston


National Weather Service