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GC7003D. Effects of Hurricane Celia: A Focus on Environmental Geologic Problems of the Texas Coastal Zone, by J. H. McGowen, C. G. Groat, L. F. Brown, Jr., W. L. Fisher, and A. J. Scott. 35 p., 9 figs., 1970. doi.org/10.23867/gc7003D. - Downloadable PDF
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From the Introduction
At 10 pm (CDT) on Friday, July 31, 1970, a tropical squall struck the western tip of Cuba causing property damage and the loss of 5 lives. Twelve hours later at 10 am (CDT), Saturday, August 1, the tropical depression had moved 150 miles northwest and had intensified into Tropical Storm Celia. At 5 pm (CDT) the same day, Celia was located about 225 miles northwest of Cuba with 75-mile-per-hour cyclonic winds classifying her as a full-fledged hurricane. Twenty hours later at 1 pm (CDT) on Sunday, August 2, Hurricane Celia was 290 miles directly south of New Orleans, Louisiana, moving northwest toward Galveston, Texas, at less than 20 miles per hour. During the next several hours Celia changed direction and forward speed several times. In the early hours on Monday, August 3, as Celia lined up on a course toward the relatively uninhabited coastline near Baffin Bay, her destructive core approximately doubled in size in less than three hours. Then between 8 and 10 am (CDT) on the 3rd, Celia suddenly veered to the northwest toward Port Aransas (cover photograph). At the same time her turbulent core shrank by approximately 40 percent, coincident with a rapid increase in the velocity of her 90-mile-per-hour counterclockwise winds. Moving coastward at 10 to 15 miles per hour, Celia struck the Texas coastal bend at Port Aransas by midafternoon, and shortly after 4 pm (CDT) southwest winds on the back side of Celia reached 30-second gusts of 160 to 180 miles per hour with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. The most intense winds moved through Port Aransas, Aransas Pass, Ingleside, Portland, and the north part of Corpus Christi.
During the three to four hours that highly destructive winds pounded the Texas coast, 11 lives were lost and almost 500 persons were injured. Orton (1970) estimated that more than $400 million dollars’ worth of crops and property damage was sustained. Almost 70, 000 families suffered losses from Celia’s winds. More than 9, 000 homes were destroyed, 14,000 homes suffered damage, 250 businesses and about 350 boats and 300 farm buildings were destroyed or damaged. Most serious damage resulted from winds, since Celia failed to generate the high storm-surge flood tides and extensive rains typical of many hurricanes.
Celia rambled west and northwest to Del Rio, the Big Bend region, and eventually died quietly in the mountains of Chihuahua, Mexico, at 4 am (CDT) on Wednesday, August 5, 102 hours after her birth near Cuba.
Keywords: hurricanes, environmental geology, Texas, Texas Coastal Zone, tropical storms, Port Aransas, Galveston, Baffin Bay, Aransas Pass, Ingleside, Corpus Christi
Hurricanes and their effects on the Texas coast: A model
Hurricane Celia: Geological effects
Effects on barrier islands
Storm passes and washovers
Beaches and dunes
Effects on bays and adjacent areas
Modification of storm effects by normal processes
Effects on man-made features and structures
Hurricanes and land-use planning: Areview
Conclusions and recommendations
1. Track of Hurricane Celia
2. Hurricane activity on the Texas coast, 1900-1963
A. Tropical cyclone activity by decades
B. Points of entry of tropical cyclones
3. Schematic model of hurricane effects on the Texas coastline
A. Physical features characterizing Texas coasts
B. Effect of approaching hurricanes
C. Effect of hurricanes upon impact with coast
D. Aftermath effects of hurricanes
4. Idealized profile of Mustang Island
5. Photographs of hurricane damage and geologic effects
A. Damage to Portland, Texas
B. Destruction of property in Port Aransas
C. Hurricane beach on Mustang Island
D. Hurricane beach near north end of Mustang Island
6. Geologic and index map of Texas coast struck by Celia
7. Beach profiles of Mustang Island showing effects of Celia's erosion
8. Photographs of hurricane effects
A. Washover effects at Vinson Slough and Cedar Bayou on St. Joseph Island
B. Washover effects at Corpus Christi Pass
C. Barrier flats protected from erosion by vegetation
D. Erosion along unvegetated barrier flat adjacent to south edge of Corpus Christi Pass.
9. Comparison of Hurricanes Carla and Beulah with Celia
A. Carla and Beulah's effects on the coastal bend.
B. Celia's effects on the coastal bend
McGowen, J. H., Groat, C. G., Brown, L. F., Jr., Fisher, W. L., and Scott, A. J., 1970, Effects of Hurricane Celia: A Focus on Environmental Geologic Problems of the Texas Coastal Zone: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, Geological Circular 70-3, 35 p.