Hurricane Rita Similar to Carla

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

The path of Hurricane Rita is about as unpredictable as the amount of damage she'll cause once she hits land.

A similar storm more than 40 years ago offers forecasters an idea of what may happen.

In 1961, Hurricane Carla hit the Texas Gulf Coast. The Brazos Valley felt her impact.

"Reports from Carla showed there was damage as far north as Grimes County, but nothing significant reported in Brazos County," says Dr. John W. Nielsen-Gammon, a Climatologist at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Gammon says while the Brazos Valley wasn't hit hard it was still seriously impacted . Headlines from the Bryan/College Station Eagle reported power outages and uprooted trees.

Larry Bailey of Bryan remembers Carla. "We had a six-by-eight glass window which I taped up. I just remember sitting there and watching it kinda pulsate in and out. We were scared at any time it might break."

Carla was a Category 4 hurricane when it hit land. Thursday afternoon Rita was forecasted to be a Category 4 also. Eight inches of rain fell in the Brazos Valley when Carla hit. That rain caused serious damage to area cotton crops. But if the current storm path stays the same, the Brazos Valley is on the west side of Rita which is the dryer side.

"Most of the rain moved to the North East of the center of circulation so we may be able to escape without much rainfall," said Nielsen-Gammon.


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