SPC Stats - Tornado #1

Path length: 1 mile

Width:  100 yards

Fatalities:  8

Injuries:  200

Rating:  F4

County:  Galveston

SPC Stats - Tornado #2

Path length: 2 miles

Width:  10 yards

Fatalities:  0

Injuries:  0

Rating:  F3

County:  Galveston

Hurricane Carla continued to produced tornadoes in Coastal Texas during the wee hours of the morning of September 12, 1961.  We look at two that moved through Galveston, TX.  

The first developed at 315am CT.  The path length was only 1 mile.  Per the Storm Data Narrative it traveled between 19th and 25th streets.  Per Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes, this tornado began as a waterspout over the Gulf and then came inland.  It “was probably the most intense tornado ever to hit Galveston.”  Eight people were killed.  Grazulis mentions that the death toll could have been much higher but many had evacuated because of Carla.  60-75 buildings were destroyed.  There is a discrepancy in the injury count.  There are 200 injuries recorded in the SPC Database.  55 injuries are recorded in the Storm Data Narrative and by Grazulis.

Tornado #2 formed at 6am, traveled a short length (2 miles) and destroyed 6 homes.  There were no injuries or fatalities from this second tornado.  It is recorded as an F3 in the SPC database.  Grazulis lists a rating of F2.  

Tornado Path

Click Map To Enlarge

Galveston F4:

SPC: 29.32 / -94.78

Corrected Coordinates based on Grazulis/Storm Data:

Start: 29.292769/-94.777185

End: 29.295411/-94.794087


Galveston F3:

SPC: Start: 29.27 / -94.87

Corrected Coordinates based on Grazulis:

Start: 29.255308/-94.858209

End: 29.270490/-94.886751 

Note:  Exact tornado path may not be straight and/or continuous.

Photos via Facebook

Newspaper Clippings

Discrepancies:

We gathered information for this event from the SPC & NCDC Databases, the September 1961 Storm Data Narrative and Thomas Grazulis in Significant Tornadoes and found the following differences:

Injury Count (Tornado #1):

  • SPC/NCDC have an injury county of 200.
  • Storm Data and Grazulis list 55 injuries.

Width (Tornado #2):

  • SPC has a 10 yard width.
  • NCDC has a 33 yard width.
  • No info from Storm Data and Grazulis.

Rating (Tornado #2):

  • SPC/NCDC have F3 rating.
  • Grazulis has F2 rating.

      Sources:

      The Storm Prediction Center

      NCDC Storm Events Database

      September 1961 Storm Data Publication

      newspapers.com

      Grazulis, Thomas P. (1993). Significant Tornadoes 1680-1991: A Chronology and Analysis of Events. St. Johnsbury, VT: The Tornado Project of Environmental Films. Page 1038.

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