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Story of a Hurricane (1961)

KPRC-TV

Sound | 1961

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TAMI Tags
  •  Path of the storm 
  •  Hurricane preparedness 
  •  Strong winds begin to blow in 
  •  Scene in Port Lavaca 
  •  KPRC reporter Ken Fairchild delivers an update 
  •  Storm surges crash into the Galveston Seawall near Murdoch’s Bathouse. Hurricane Carla destroyed Murdoch’s for the second time (the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 took responsibility for the first). The rebuilt structure survived until 2008, when Hurricane Ike hit Galveston. A new Murdoch’s opened the following year.  
  •  Fairchild reporting from Victoria. The station’s coverage of Hurricane Carla marked the first sound recording of a Texas storm. 
  •  Weather radar 
  •  Aftermath in Galveston 
  •  An ambulance transports an injured person to the hospital 
  •  First responders and volunteers search the wreckage of a destroyed home 
  •  Those displaced by the storm flock to community shelters 
  •  Scene in Palacios 
  •  One steer survived the storm by taking shelter inside the house 
  •  Fairchild speaks with a Palacios police officer 
  •  The US Air Force delivers disaster relief resources 
  •  Aerial footage 
 
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  • About the video
  • Hurricane Carla Hurricane Carla
  • Ray Miller Ray Miller
  • Texas Locations
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Story of a Hurricane was a television news special broadcast produced by Houston’s KPRC-TV about Hurricane Carla. Written and narrated by KPRC News Director Ray Miller, the program captures happenings along the Texas gulf coast before, during, and after the Category-4 storm made landfall on September 11, 1961. Reporter Ken Fairchild also reports from the scene, delivering updates on Carla’s movements as well as speaking with first responders and survivors. KPRC’s coverage marked the first sound recording of a Texas storm.
Carla is the second most intense hurricane to ever hit the Texas coast (the most intense was the "Indianola" hurricane of 1886.) Though the storm made landfall between Port O'Connor and Port Lavaca, it was so large that entire coast was affected; over half a million residents were evacuated, and damage was reported as far inland as Dallas. Carla caused $325 million (today $2.03 billion) in damage and killed 31 Texans.
 
An interesting note from the 1961 hurricane: then little known news anchor Dan Rather reported live during the storm from the Galveston seawall. It was the first live broadcast during a hurricane, later to become common practice in weather reporting.
Newsman Ray Miller (1919 - 2008) began his broadcasting career in 1938 in his home town of Fort Worth. He relocated to Houston soon thereafter, where he joined KPRC Radio. When KPRC purchased Houston’s first television station in 1951, Miller adopted the burgeoning medium, eventually winning a Peabody Award. In 1969, Miller created The Eyes of Texas, a regional television series examining all things Texas. On the air for 30 years, the series became Houston’s longest-running local television program. Miller retired in 1979, serving as news director at both KPRC Radio and KPRC-TV for over 40 years. During his decades-long tenure at KPRC, Miller mentored a number of journalists, including Dan Rather and former US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. 
 
After retiring from television production, Miller became a local historian, writing several books and travel guides about historic attractions in Houston and Galveston. He also worked with the Harris County Historical Commission to secure markers for numerous sites.