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Hurricane Alicia
Hurricane Alicia
was a small but powerful hurricane that caused major destruction within the southeastern parts of Texas
Texas
in August of 1983. The third tropical cyclone, first named storm, and the only major hurricane of the very inactive 1983 Atlantic
Atlantic
hurricane season, Alicia struck Galveston
Galveston
and Houston, Texas
Texas
directly, causing $3 billion (1983 USD)[1] in damage and killing 21 people; this made it the worst Texas
Texas
hurricane since Hurricane Carla
Hurricane Carla
in 1961.[2] In addition, Alicia was the first billion-dollar tropical cyclone in Texas history,[3] and the costliest tropical cyclone in the Atlantic
Atlantic
since Hurricane Agnes
Hurricane Agnes
in 1972. Alicia was the first hurricane to hit the United States
United States
mainland since Hurricane Allen
Hurricane Allen
in August 1980. The time between the two storms totaled three years and eight days (1,103 days).[4] Hurricane Alicia became the last major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) to strike Texas
Texas
until the stronger Hurricane Bret in 1999 made landfall. Alicia was the first storm for which the National Hurricane Center issued landfall probabilities.[5] It was also notable for the delayed post storm evacuation of Galveston
Galveston
Island (since the eye of the storm traveled the evacuation route up Interstate 45
Interstate 45
from Galveston
Galveston
to Houston). The hurricane was also notable for the shattering of many windows in downtown Houston
Houston
by loose gravel from the roofs of new skyscrapers and by other debris, prompting changes to rooftop construction codes.

Contents

1 Meteorological history 2 Preparations 3 Impact

3.1 Texas 3.2 Elsewhere

4 Aftermath 5 Retirement 6 In popular culture 7 See also 8 References

Meteorological history[edit]

Map plotting the track and intensity of the storm, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale

The origins of Hurricane Alicia
Hurricane Alicia
were from a cold front that extended from New England
New England
through the central Gulf of Mexico. On August 14, mesoscale low-pressure area developed off the Alabama and Mississippi
Mississippi
coastlines.[2] Around 0100 UTC on August 15, the low had maintained convection, or area of thunderstorms, for 12 hours, as well as a circulation for six hours; as a result, the National Hurricane Center
National Hurricane Center
(NHC) began issuing Dvorak classifications on the system.[6] By a few hours later, the deep convection became organized in the circulation's southern semicircle, which prompted a Hurricane Hunters
Hurricane Hunters
flight into the system.[7] At 1200 UTC that day, the system developed into Tropical Depression Three about 350 miles (560 km) south-southwest of the Mississippi
Mississippi
River Delta.[8] A few hours later, the Hurricane Hunters confirmed its development.[9] Such development along the tail end of a cold front is more typical earlier or later in the hurricane season.[10] After becoming a tropical cyclone, the depression was moving slowly westward, due to a ridge to its north.[2] A Hurricane Hunters
Hurricane Hunters
flight late on August 15 reported that the depression reached winds of 50 mph (80 km/h); as a result, the NHC upgraded the cyclone to Tropical Storm Alicia. At the time of its upgrade, the storm was located in an area of higher than normal atmospheric pressure, although conditions favored further development.[11] Due to high pressures surrounding the storm, Alicia was a smaller than normal tropical cyclone; as a result, it produced stronger than normal winds, in comparison to its minimum central pressure.[2] The storm continued slowly to the west-northwest, and by August 17 attained hurricane status, about 160 miles (255 km) southeast of Galveston, Texas.[8] Shortly thereafter, an eye became visible on radar,[12] as the hurricane executed several small loops.[10] Its slow movement over warm waters, in addition to an anticyclone becoming established over the hurricane, caused Alicia to undergo rapid deepening.[2]

Alicia making landfall near Galveston, Texas
Texas
early on August 18

At 0600 UTC on August 18, the winds reached 115 mph (185 km/h), just before Alicia made landfall about 25 mi (40 km) southwest of Galveston, Texas.[8] Upon moving ashore, the gale-force winds extended 125 mi (201 km) from the center,[13] and hurricane-force winds spread across an area from Freeport to 60 mi (97 km) northeast.[14] Its atmospheric pressure was 962 mbar (hPa; 28.41 inHg) around the time of landfall,[8] and radar imagery indicated the presence of a rare double-eye structure.[10] Alicia quickly weakened, passing over central Houston
Houston
with sustained winds of 80 mph (130 km/h). It accelerated toward the northwest, weakening to tropical storm status late on August 18 and to tropical depression status twelve hours later.[8] Tropical Depression Alicia moved into Oklahoma
Oklahoma
and interacted with an approaching frontal trough. By 0600 UTC on August 20, Alicia had transitioned into an extratropical cyclone over northwestern Oklahoma, and by the next day it was no longer identifiable after merging with the trough over eastern Nebraska.[2][8] Preparations[edit] See also: Tropical cyclone
Tropical cyclone
warnings and watches Several watches and warnings were issued in association with Alicia. The first ones were a gale warning and a hurricane watch for the area between Corpus Christi, Texas, and Grand Isle, Louisiana, issued on August 16. On August 17, a hurricane warning was issued for the coastline from Corpus Christi to Morgan City, Louisiana, and later for Port Arthur, Texas, southward.[5] Initially, however, residents did not take the warnings seriously. Galveston
Galveston
Mayor E. Gus Manuel, against the advice of Texas
Texas
Governor Mark White, ordered the evacuation of only low-lying areas.[15] As a result, only 10 percent of the population living behind the seawall chose to leave when Alicia came ashore. In contrast, about 30 percent of Galveston's population evacuated the island when Hurricane Allen
Hurricane Allen
threatened the eastern Texas coastline in 1980.[16] Throughout the day, however, as the increasing winds began to cause damage in Galveston, people grew more concerned. The mayor finally ordered a widespread evacuation of the island after midnight on August 18, but by then, the bridges to the mainland were uncrossable.[15] Impact[edit] Texas[edit]

Alicia's storm total rainfall

Galveston
Galveston
reported 7 3⁄4 in (197 mm) of rain, Liberty reported 9 1⁄2 in (241 mm) of rain, and Greens Bayou reported almost 10 in (250 mm). Centerville reported over 8 inches (200 mm), with Normangee and Mexia reporting over 7 in (180 mm).[17] Maximum rainfall in the Houston
Houston
area in Harris County was about 10–11 in (250–280 mm), while 8 in (200 mm) of rain was reported in Leon County and 9 in (230 mm) in the Sabine River area. High gusts were reported throughout Texas, with a maximum gust of 125 mph (201 km/h) reported on the Coast Guard cutter Buttonwood (WLB-306) stationed at the northeastern tip of Galveston
Galveston
Island.[10] Pleasure Pier reported tides of 8.67 ft (2.64 m), with Pier 21 reporting a little over 5.5 ft (1.7 m). Baytown, Texas, reported 10–12 ft (3.0–3.7 m) tides, and Morgan City reported 12.1 ft (3.7 m), the highest recorded as a result of Alicia.[17] The storm also caused extensive disruption of power services. A Paul Simon- Art Garfunkel
Art Garfunkel
reunion concert scheduled for the Houston
Houston
Astrodome was canceled due to the coming storm. Twenty-three tornadoes were reported in association with Alicia. Fourteen of those were located in the Galveston
Galveston
and Hobby Airport area. The other nine were concentrated around Tyler to Houston, Texas,[14] ranging around F2 on the Fujita scale.[16] A major oil spill occurred around Texas
Texas
City, and an ocean-going tugboat capsized 50 miles (80 km) off the Sabine Pass coast.[18] The Coast Guard Air Station Houston
Houston
(AIRSTA) weathered Alicia with little damage, and afterwards AIRSTA's helicopters assisted residents with evacuation, supply, and survey flights. Sixty gallons of water had to be removed from the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Galveston;[18] this weather office also temporarily lost its radar.[19] Houston
Houston
suffered billions of dollars in damage. Thousands of glass panes in downtown skyscrapers were shattered by gravel blown off rooftops.[16] Although Alicia was a small Category 3 hurricane, a total of 2,297 dwellings were destroyed by Alicia, with another 3,000+ experiencing major damage. Over ten thousand dwellings had minor damage.[14] In Galveston, the western beach had its public beach boundary shifted back about 150 ft (46 m).[20] About 5 feet (1.5 m) of sand was scoured, leaving beachfront homes in a natural vegetation state. This moved many beachfront homes onto public beach, and the Attorney General's office declared that they were in violation of the Texas
Texas
Open Beaches Act and forbade the repair or rebuilding of those homes.[20] The Corps of Engineers stated that if the Galveston
Galveston
Sea Wall had not been there, that another $100 million (1983 USD; $246 million 2018 USD) in damage could have occurred.[20] Also, if Alicia had been the size of Hurricane Carla
Hurricane Carla
from 1961, damage could have easily doubled or possibly tripled.[20] Alicia damaged chemical and petrochemical plants in Houston.[21] Elsewhere[edit] As Alicia progressed northward, it produced heavy precipitation in several other areas. In Oklahoma, the rain amounted to 5.51 in (140 mm) in south-central portions of the state. Parts of Kansas and Nebraska
Nebraska
received 1 to 3 in (25 to 76 mm) of rainfall. Other states, including Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Louisiana
Louisiana
and Wisconsin
Wisconsin
experienced light rainfall from the remnants of the storm.[22] Aftermath[edit]

Wind damage from Alicia photographed from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration helicopter

The Red Cross provided food and shelter to 63,000 people in the hurricane's wake, costing about $166 million (1983 USD; $408 million 2018 USD).[14][20] FEMA gave out $32 million (1983 USD; $78.6 million 2018 USD) to Alicia's victims and local governments; $23 million (1983 USD; $56.5 million 2018 USD) of that was for picking up debris spread after the storm.[23] More than 16,000 people sought help from FEMA's disaster service centers. The Small Business Administration, aided with 56 volunteers, interviewed over 16,000 victims, and it was predicted that about 7,000 loan applications would be submitted. The Federal Insurance Agency had closed over 1,318 flood insurance cases from Alicia's aftermath, however only 782 received final payment.[23] On September 23 and September 24, 1983, in the wake of Alicia, two subcommittees of the U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. House of Representatives
held hearings in Houston. The hearing on September 23 were to examine the primary issues of the NWS during Alicia, the effectiveness of the NWS in current procedures, and the use of the NWS. The second hearing, which occurred on September 24, was to discuss the damage and recovery efforts during Alicia.[23] During the September 23 hearing, witnesses agreed that the NWS did well before and during the emergency caused by Alicia. NWS forecasters also testified in which they said they gratified themselves that their predictions were well "on target" and that the local emergency plans had worked so well, which saved many lives. Mayor Gus Manuel on Galveston
Galveston
claimed that the NWS did an excellent job during Alicia. He was also very impressed about their landfall predictions on August 17.[23] During the September 24 hearing, evidence was presented which demonstrated the need for improving readiness to cope with disasters, such as Alicia. Mayor Manuel mentioned that his town needed stronger building codes, which were under review.[23] Retirement[edit] Due to the severe damage, the name "Alicia" was retired in the spring of 1984 by the World Meteorological Organization, and will never be used again for an Atlantic
Atlantic
hurricane. It was the first name to be retired since Hurricane Allen
Hurricane Allen
in 1980.[24] It was replaced with "Allison" for the 1989 season.[25] In popular culture[edit] The approach and eventual landfall of Alicia is a central plot point in a Season 1 episode of the AMC television drama Halt and Catch Fire.[26] See also[edit]

Houston
Houston
portal Tropical cyclones portal

List of Texas
Texas
hurricanes List of retired Atlantic
Atlantic
hurricane names Timeline of the 1983 Atlantic
Atlantic
hurricane season

References[edit]

^ Costliest U.S. tropical cyclones tables updated (PDF) (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. January 26, 2018. Retrieved February 1, 2018.  ^ a b c d e f " Hurricane Alicia
Hurricane Alicia
Preliminary Report" (GIF). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. 1983. p. 1. Retrieved September 20, 2010.  ^ " Texas
Texas
Governors". Austin, Texas: Texas
Texas
State Library and Archives Commission. 2007. Retrieved April 2, 2007.  ^ "Chronological List of All Hurricanes Which Affected The Continental United States
United States
1851 - 2007". Hurricane Research Division. Silver Spring, Maryland: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2007.  ^ a b " Hurricane Alicia
Hurricane Alicia
Preliminary Report". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. 1983. p. 4. Retrieved May 5, 2011.  ^ "Miami SFSS/NHC Tropical and Subtropical Cyclone Classification". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. August 15, 1983. Retrieved September 20, 2010.  ^ "Reconnaissance Aircraft Summary of the Day". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. August 15, 1983. Retrieved September 20, 2010.  ^ a b c d e f " Atlantic
Atlantic
hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)". Hurricane Research Division (Database). Miami, FL: National Hurricane Center. April 11, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2018.  ^ Gerrish, Harold P. (August 15, 1983). "Preliminary Depression Statement". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 20, 2010.  ^ a b c d "Storm Development and History". Washington D.C.: United States Army. 2007. Archived from the original on May 5, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.  ^ Gerrish, Harold P. (August 15, 1983). "Tropical Storm Alicia Discussion". Miami, Florida. Retrieved September 20, 2010.  ^ Gerrish, Harold P. (August 17, 1983). "Tropical Cyclone Discussion Hurricane Alicia". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved September 20, 2010.  ^ Lawrence, Miles B. (August 18, 1983). " Hurricane Alicia
Hurricane Alicia
Intermediate Advisory". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 5, 2011.  ^ a b c d " Hurricane Alicia
Hurricane Alicia
Preliminary Report" (GIF). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. 1983. p. 2. Retrieved September 20, 2010.  ^ a b Isaacson, Walter (August 29, 1983). "Coping with Nature newspaper". Time Magazine. Time Warner. Archived from the original on May 5, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.  ^ a b c "Hurricane Alicia, 1983". U.S.A. Today. Gannett. August 30, 1999. Archived from the original on May 5, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.  ^ a b " Hurricane Alicia
Hurricane Alicia
Preliminary Report" (GIF). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. 1983. p. 5. Retrieved September 20, 2010.  ^ a b National Weather Office (2007). " Texas
Texas
Hurricane History: Late 20th Century". Lake Charles, Louisiana: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on March 13, 2007. Retrieved April 2, 2007.  ^ "Warnings". Washington D.C.: United States
United States
Army. 2007. Archived from the original on July 3, 2007. Retrieved April 2, 2007.  ^ a b c d e National Weather Office — Houston- Galveston
Galveston
(2007). "Upper Texas
Texas
Coast Tropical Cyclones in the 1980s". Dickinson, Texas: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on March 28, 2007. Retrieved April 2, 2007.  ^ Levitan, Mark (2007). "Are Chemical Plants Really Safe?" (PDF). Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana
Louisiana
State University. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 23, 2002. Retrieved April 2, 2007.  ^ Roth, David M. (May 1, 2007). " Hurricane Alicia
Hurricane Alicia
- August 14-22, 1983". Silver Spring, Maryland: Hydrometeorogical Prediction Center. Retrieved May 5, 2011.  ^ a b c d e "Hurricane Alicia: Prediction, Damage & Recovery Efforts" (PDF). Subcommittee on Natural Resources, Agriculture Research and Environment. 1983. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 5, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.  ^ "Retired Hurricane Names Since 1954". Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. March 16, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.  ^ Associated Press
Associated Press
(June 1, 1989). "4 hurricane predicted for Atlantic in 1989". Bal Harbour, Florida: Star-News. Retrieved May 5, 2011.  ^ Perkins, Dennis (July 7, 2014). "Halt and Catch Fire: "Landfall"". Chicago: A.V. Club. Retrieved July 7, 2014. 

v t e

Retired Atlantic
Atlantic
hurricane names

1950s

Carol Edna Hazel Connie Diane Ione Janet Audrey

1960s

Donna Carla Hattie Flora Cleo Dora Hilda Betsy Inez Beulah Camille

1970s

Celia Agnes Carmen Fifi Eloise Anita Greta David Frederic

1980s

Allen Alicia Elena Gloria Gilbert Joan Hugo

1990s

Diana Klaus Bob Andrew Luis Marilyn Opal Roxanne Cesar Fran Hortense Georges Mitch Floyd Lenny

2000s

Keith Allison (TS) Iris Michelle Isidore Lili Fabian Isabel Juan Charley Frances Ivan Jeanne Dennis Katrina Rita Stan Wilma Dean Felix Noel Gustav Ike Paloma

2010s

Igor Tomas Irene Sandy Ingrid Erika (TS) Joaquin Matthew Otto

Book Category Portal WikiProject Commons

v t e

Tropical cyclones of the 1983 Atlantic
Atlantic
hurricane season

TD

One

TD

Two

3

Alicia

1

Barry

1

Chantal

TD

Six

TS

Dean

Book Category Portal WikiProject Commons

Preceded by Agnes Costliest Atlantic
Atlantic
hurricanes on Record 1983 Succ

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