CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – While Texas has seen its share of notable hurricanes in its history (Ike, Rita, Dolly and the Great Galveston hurricane), the coastal bend of Texas has not seen a major hurricane since 1970.
Hurricane Celia made landfall on Aug. 3, 1970 near Corpus Christi, and at the time was the costliest hurricane in the state’s history at $500 million in damage. The storm made landfall with sustained winds of 110-130 mph and gusts estimated to be as high as 180 mph. Celia killed 15 people as it moved across south Texas, and damaged around 70 percent of the residences in Corpus Christi. Around 3 out of every 4 residences in Port Aransas were damaged, along with nearly 90 percent of the residences in Portland, on the opposite side of the bay from Corpus Christi.
The National Weather Service Office in Corpus Christi’s page for Hurricane Celia cites a quote from Dr. Robert Simpson, the then-director of the National Hurricane Center and co-founder of the Saffir-Simpson scale that hurricanes are measured on today. Simpson described the damage as “a succession of long streaks of heavy damage...as small pockets of high energy winds radially spaced from north to south at interval lengths of a mile or more, raked across Corpus Christi from west to east.”
The Port Aransas Museum Archives has archive video from before and after Celia moved through. TAP HERE if you cannot see the video in this story.
The Texas Archive of the Moving Image also has video from Celia. TAP HERE if you cannot see the video on your device.
TAP HERE for the latest discussion on Hurricane Harvey.