HOUSTON, Texas (KIAH) Hurricane Alicia pounded the Texas coast 38 years ago today. Alicia originally formed just south of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico on August 15, 1983 and just a few days later it strengthened to a Category 3 Hurricane and made landfall along Galveston, Texas in the early hours of August 18th,1983. Alicia is known to be Texas’ first billion dollar storm.
When Alicia slammed the Texas coast it was the first hurricane to hit the Unites States in more than 3 years, and reportedly packed sustained winds of nearly 100 MPH and gust of up 107 MPH. Hurricane Alicia is known to be the first storm that the National Hurricane Center issued landfall probabilities.
Alicia moved fast through southeast Texas however Houston saw about 11 inches of rain in a short period of time. As the storm made its way through the state, 23 tornadoes ranking from F0-F2 intensity were reported, 14 of which were all reported in one day between Galveston and Houston, and another 9 north of Houston the day after.21 people lost their lives.
The town of Seabrook saw a 12 foot storm surge and 11 foot tide, while Galveston’s West Beach lost 150 feet of sand to sudden erosion. The sea wall is said to have successfully protected Galveston from being completely wiped away and without it an additional estimated 100 million dollars in damage could have occurred. Near downtown Houston thousands of glass panes in skyscrapers were shattered by gravel blown off of rooftops.
On August 19,1983 Alicia moved into Oklahoma as a tropical depression and eventually diminished. The named Alicia was retired in 1984 and replaced with Allison for 1989. Then Allison was retired after striking the same area of Alicia in 2001.