Hurricane Claudette gathers strength over the Gulf of Mexico and heads for the Texas coast on this day in 2003. By the time it passes through Texas, it causes major damage, especially in Galveston, where it kills two people.
Claudette began to form over St. Lucia in the Caribbean on July 8. It officially became a tropical storm two days later, when it hit the Yucatan peninsula. For four days, it meandered over the Gulf of Mexico, losing strength and direction. Then, on July 14, the storm’s winds regained strength and it pushed toward central Texas. Claudette reached hurricane status on July 15, when it hit the Texas coast with 90-mile-per-hour winds.
The gusting winds, some more than 100 miles per hour, felled power lines and trees. Both Texans who died in the storm, a woman in Victoria and a boy in Jourdanton, were killed by falling tree limbs. The Coast Guard was able to rescue two men whose shrimp boat sank in the storm near Galveston. Although the eye of the storm hit more than 100 miles away from Galveston, storm waves there crashed far above the sea wall.
As the storm moved inland, it lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical depression. Still, Claudette dumped eight inches of rain and set off some isolated twisters before dispersing.