As it moved slowly across the Gulf of Mexico, Carla steadily strengthened to its peak of 175 mph (280 km/h) winds (Category 5 intensity) on September 11. Just before landfall, it weakened, but Carla was still a very strong and unusually large Category 4 hurricane at its landfall between Port O'Connor and Port Lavaca, Texas, on the 11th. At the time, Carla became the largest hurricane on record in the Atlantic basin. Along the entire Texas coast, hurricane warnings were put into effect, causing a large evacuation of low-lying areas.
Much of the damage was done well away from the landfall site, as Carla spawned one of the largest hurricane-related tornado outbreaks on record at the time, when 26 tornadoes touched down within its circulation. One F4 tornado ripped through downtown Galveston, killing several (sources differ on the exact number, varying from 6 to 12). Outside the protection of the Galveston Seawall, structures on the island were severely damaged by storm surge. Damage was reported as far east as the Mississippi River delta.
As Carla weakened, it dropped heavy rain in the Midwest.
Carla killed 43 people, 31 of them in Texas. The low death toll is credited to what was then the largest peacetime evacuation in US history. One half million residents headed inland from exposed coastal areas. Carla caused a total of $325 million (1961 USD, $2.03 billion 2005 USD) in damage.
Interaction of an Asymmetric Double Vortex and Trochoidal Motion of a Tropical Cyclone with the Concentric Eyewall Structure
Mar 01, 2006; ABSTRACT Radar echo images demonstrate that mature tropical cyclones frequently have a concentric eyewall structure, which...