What happened on this day, 50 years ago


HARLINGEN — Beulah hit “the Magic Valley” Wednesday morning, “leaving in her destructive wake human suffering, terrific property and crop losses and a lingering threat of floods, disease and more suffering.

“No deaths were recorded. A few injuries, none critical, were reported. Little looting was noted.

“The ‘eye’ of the storm scanned the Valley, missing hardly a square mile of it.”

It was reported that 4,500 “refugees” were being housed at Harlingen High School, where teachers, students and staff were preparing to serve 17,000 meals.

Only the rooftops were visible in Harlingen’s Parkwood and Arroyo Estates neighborhoods along the Arroyo Colorado.

It was noted in one photograph caption, “Harlingen Municipal Golf Course could have become a boat club.”

A swollen Arroyo Colorado overflowed its banks and rose so high that water lapped at the very bottom of the Business 77 bridge.

Maria Craven, a Harlingen resident, wrote a letter to the editor to what was believed to be the San Antonio Express and San Antonio News.

“It seems impossible that only a few blocks from (where I work) a terrible flood is raging and thousands of people are homeless because of the merciless waters tearing down the usually quiet and picturesque Arroyo Colorado.”

One month after the storm, the Valley Morning Star published a “souvenir Beulah edition.”

The Star said, “Beulah was no lady. She was a vicious killer and will go down in history as the second billion-dollar hurricane.”

Hurricane Beulah — By the Numbers

59 – Fatalities

115 – Tornadoes spawned

160 – Highest wind measured

$1.5 billion – Damage (in current dollars)

18 feet – The storm surge on SPI

24 – Number of counties declared disaster areas

27 – Number of inches of rain over the RGV in 36 hours