8 of the most destructive storms in Houston’s history

Flooded homes near Lake Houston after Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017.

HOUSTON – The Houston area has been hit by countless storms during the annual five-month period, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Here’s a look back at some of the worst storms to sweep through the Bayou City in modern history.

The Great Galveston Storm, 1900

Responsible for more than 6,000 deaths, the Category 4 hurricane was labeled the deadliest weather disaster in United States history. The storm surge inundated Galveston Island and the nearby Texas coast with 8 to 12 feet of water. The killer weather system caused an estimated $30 million in property damage. Galveston’s 17-foot seawall was built in response to the storm.

1900: A powerful hurricane makes landfall at Galveston, Texas. The storm would end up killing about 8,000 people, making it the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.

Galveston hurricane, 1915

This destructive storm system swept through the region just 15 years after the Great Galveston Storm. The hurricane produced 120 mph winds and a 16 foot storm surge. The storm killed 275 people and caused an estimated $50 million in property damage, according to the National Weather Service.

Hurricane Carla, 1961

Hurricane Carla made landfall near Port O’Connor as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds near 125 mph and gusts estimated near 175 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Carla produced a 22-foot storm surge in Matagorda Bay and spawned an F3 tornado which destroyed parts of downtown Galveston. Over 40 people lost their lives in Carla, according to the National Weather Service.

Hurricane Alicia, 1983

Hurricane Alicia blasted onto Galveston Beach with 115 mph winds and a 10-foot storm surge, leaving 21 people dead and causing nearly $6 billion in damage. In just 30 hours, Alicia formed from nothing into a Category 3 hurricane and slammed into the southeast Texas coast.

1983: Hurricane Alicia hits the Texas coast, killing 21 people and causing more than $2.6 billion in damage.

Tropical Storm Allison, 2001

While not a hurricane, Allison would end up on record as one of the most devastating tropical storms in U.S. history. In mere days, the deadly storm system dumped 80 percent of the Houston area’s average rainfall, damaging 73,000 homes, flooding 95,000 cars and leaving more than 30,000 people stranded in shelters. Allison was responsible for 41 deaths and around $5 billion in property damage.

Hurricane Rita, 2005

Dubbed “The Forgotten Storm” by some, Hurricane Rita slammed into South Texas/Louisiana less than 30 days after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. With winds of 115 mph, Rita was the strongest hurricane to hit Southeast Texas since Hurricane Audrey in 1957. The storm killed seven people and caused an estimated $10 billion in damage in the United States.

2005: Hurricane Rita makes landfall in the United States as a Category 3 hurricane, devastating Beaumont, Texas, and portions of southwestern Louisiana, and causing $12 billion in damages to the U.S. Gulf Coast in total.

Hurricane Ike, 2008

With winds of nearly 110 mph, Ike made landfall over Galveston Island as a Category 2 Hurricane. The storm killed 214 people as it moved across the Bahamas, Cuba and the U.S. The sixth-costliest hurricane in U.S. history, the storm caused a total of $38 billion in damage.

Hurricane Harvey, 2017

Considered one of the costliest tropical cyclones in U.S. history, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast as a Category 4 storm with winds of more than 130 mph. In a five-day period, the storm produced more than 50 inches of rain in the Houston area, flooding more than 300,000 structures and causing more than $120 billion in damage. Harvey was also a prolific tornado producer, with 57 tornadoes preliminarily reported during the storm. Sixty-eight people lost their lives in Harvey.

People walk down a flooded street in Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team as a community associate producer in 2019. During her time in H-Town, she's covered everything from fancy Houston homes to tropical storms. Previously, she worked at Austin Monthly Magazine and KAGS TV, where she earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow award for her work as a digital producer.