Remembering: The surprise hurricane of 1943

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The Texas coast was surprised by a category 2 hurricane in 1943 (KTRK)

It was called "the surprise hurricane" of 1943 and it changed the way we forecast storms and the way we advise the public.

The U.S. was in the middle of World War II. Here in Texas, the biggest threat from Nazi Germany was submarines, called u-boats, in the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the threats from u-boats, ships were not allowed to broadcast on their radios. This included weather reports that the National Weather Service relied on for storm forecasting.

As the "surprise hurricane" approached the Texas coast, little to no information was known about the storm or provided to the public. A day before landfall, a small article was published in local papers warning of a tropical storm and winds of 30-40 mph along the coast.

The category 2 hurricane made landfall on July 27th, on the Bolivar Peninsula but caused damage in Galveston, Texas City and other communities on the Gulf Coast. Nineteen people were killed in the storm and thousands of buildings were damaged.

The hurricane was the first storm to be entered into by an aircraft. Colonel Joe Duckworth and navigator Lt. Ralph O'Hair, flew an AT-6 "Texan" trainer from Bryan, Texas into the eye of the hurricane. According to the National Weather Service, British pilots were making fun of American aircraft and Colonel Duckworth bet them he could fly the single engine trainer into the hurricane.

More information about the hurricane of 1943 can be found here: National Weather Serice

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