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The Rosenberg Library Collection - Hurricane Carla (1961)

Galveston and Texas History Center - Rosenberg Library

Silent | 1961

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  •  Waves breaking over the seawall 
  •  Do not try this at home 
  •  Off to see the Wizard of Oz 
  •  Puppy playing in the floodwater 
  •  Surveying the damage around town 
  •  Searching through debris 
  •  Calm waters 
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Given to the Rosenberg Library by David Moore, this home movie captures the Moore family of Galveston before and after Hurricane Carla hit the Texas coast in September 1961. Members of the family first watch as swelling waves break over the Galveston Seawall. Retreating to their home, the Moores observe the howling wind and rain, later playing in the floodwaters with the family dog. After the hurricane passes, the Moore family drives around Galveston to survey the damage and capture clean-up efforts.
Carla is the second-most intense hurricane to ever hit the Texas coast. (The most intense was the "Indianola" hurricane of 1886.) Though the storm made landfall between Port O'Connor and Port Lavaca, it was so large that the entire coast was affected; over half a million residents were evacuated, and damage was reported as far inland as Dallas. Carla caused $325 million (today $2.03 billion) in damage and killed 31 Texans.
An interesting note from the 1961 hurricane: then little known news anchor Dan Rather reported live during the storm from the Galveston seawall. It was the first live broadcast during a hurricane, later to become common practice in weather reporting.