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The Cecil Hunley Family Films - Before and After Hurricane Carla (1961)

Cecil Hunley

Silent | 1961

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  •  Two children play with a cat and a dog in the front yard  
  •  Playtime at the beach with kids and dogs 
  •  The aftermath of Hurricane Carla 
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  • About the video
  • Hurricane Carla Hurricane Carla
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This home movie captures the scene Surfside Beach before and after Hurricane Carla, a Category-5 hurricane that struck the Texas coast in 1961. Before the storm, a beach side town provides an idyllic setting for two children and an older woman (perhaps their grandmother). After the storm, the beach is almost unrecognizable with collapsed buildings and mountains of debris.
Carla began as a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea during late summer of 1961. Increasing in severity, the storm eventually grew into a Category 5 hurricane. Though the storm made landfall between Port O'Connor and Port Lavaca, it was so large that 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 at least 42 people.
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.