Observations about Hurricanes in Houston
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law
I have been through the eye of Hurricane Alicia. I have been through the 28 plus inches of rain from Tropical Storm Allison. I have watched the broadcast media's reporting of hurricanes go from largely factual to largely unrepresentative.
It is important that individuals know facts about hurricanes. It is knowledge that allows one to make an intelligent decision on whether to stay or go. But the facts sometimes don't make the high drama TV news demands.
This page collects facts about hurricanes so one can plan intelligently when faced with the threat of a visit from a hurricane.
When Alicia hit Houston during the evening of August 17/morning of August 18, 1983, wind gusts at landfall were 127 mph. Please note the wording of this statement. We are talking gusts: the highest winds. And at landfall. These statistics don't tell us what happened twenty miles inland. These statistics don't tell us whether the 127 mph number is representative, or just the high mark. Still, if you did ok with Alicia, that should be of some use in evaluating another storm.
It is useful to know the Category of a storm. That is the measurement of its strongest winds, in miles per hour. However, that does not tell you how far out such wind speeds exist. You need to know this so you can predict the force of the winds that will hit your area. If the storm has gusts up to 150 mph, and such gusts extent out twenty-five miles from the eye (center), you are in trouble if you are within twenty-five miles of predicted land fall. You are much better off if you are 75 miles from predicted land fall. How much better off depends on the speed of the outlying winds. Unfortunately, such detailed information is hard to come by.
Latitudes and Longitudes:
Latitudes run parallel to the equator. They are like the rungs of a ladder. Think, "Laddertudes." Longitudes run north and south. Each degree of latitude or longitude is 60 nautical miles (NM), or 69 statutory miles, or 111 kilometers.
For ease of reference:
Beaumont is located at 30.09 North - 94.10 West
Brownsville is located at 25.92 North - 97.49 West
Corpus Christi is located at 27.8 North - 97.39 West
Dickinson is located at 29.46 North - 95.05 West
Galveston is located at 29.13 North - 94.53 West
Houston is located at 29.77 North - 95.39 West
New Orleans is located at 29.56 North - 90.07 West