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Angry Waters - Worst Flood in Texas History (1967)

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Sound | 1967

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  •  Flood waters of the Rio Grande, swollen by torrential rains of Hurricane Beulah, ravaged South Texas. 
  •  It's the worst flood in the state's history, and the threat of disease, hunger, and polluted water follows in its wake.   
  •  With Mexico awash from the Gulf to the Pacific, a total of 200,000 are homeless, the damages top 1 billion dollars. 
  •  The combined Mexico-Texas death toll is over 40, and emergency relief centers are crowded with the homeless, injured, and ill.  
  •  Entire cities were inundated, their residents forced to flee. 
  •  Farmlands are ruined, and the citrus crop devastated, South Texas applies for federal designation as a major disaster area. 
  •  With the Rio Grande slowly receding, the massive flooding ends, but it will be many months before life here returns to any kind of normalcy, as Texas suffers the last stages of what many call the worst flood of the 20th century.  
  •  Rio Grande Flood Waters From Hurricane Beulah 
  •  Emergency Relief Centers 
  •  "The Worst Flood Of The 20th Century" 
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In 1967, Hurricane Beulah hit the Texas coast, causing the Rio Grande to overflow its banks and leading to what some called the worst flooding of the 20th century. This Universal Newsreel footage includes aerial views of the flooding, crowded emergency relief centers, and children playing in the receding flood waters.

Hurricane Beulah reached South Texas on September 20, 1967, causing major flooding and producing tornadoes across the state. Both Texas and Mexico sustained massive damage, with 200,000 people left homeless, over 40 dead, and 1 billion dollars in total damage.

At the time it struck the Texas coast, the hurricane was "true Texas-size" (It Happened in Texas), approximately 650 miles in diameter with winds over 130 mph. A slow moving storm, some areas of South Texas battled heavy rains and winds for two days. Ultimately, Beulah became the third-largest hurricane of the 20th century.

President Lyndon Johnson surveyed the damage caused to his home state by the hurricane and declared 24 counties in Texas a disaster area. Shortly after on October 4th, Hurricane Fern made landfall in Tampico, Mexico. Although it had weakened to a tropical storm by the time it reached land, Fern caused further damage in northeastern Mexico and the Gulf region of Texas already devastated by Beulah.
d declared 24 counties in Texas a disaster area. Ultimately, Beulah became the third-largest hurricane of the 20th century.