Many Texans have not had to face a deadly hurricane.

Yet Texans from all across the state appreciate how well hurricanes are spotted and warned about by experts.

I was lucky enough to see a real hurricane up-close in Port Lavaca when I was seven years old.

My mother drove my brother and me to Victoria while the storm approached.

Dad helped others to stay in the strongest buildings at Port Lavaca.

After dark, we and the hurricane reached Victoria. We stayed with friends, the Scherlens.

Suddenly shouting warnings, the excited adults discovered the only two-story on that street had blown up and away from the storm. The residents, just across the street, managed to escape without anyone being injured, because no one was on the top floor.

This proved it was a long night in Victoria. Incredibly, no one was injured in our neighborhood after the wooden top floor and all its shingles were blown completely away and never seen by us again. We were stunned that the flying pieces of the upper part of the house did not injure anyone.

And to this day, I never have come that close to being hit by a hurricane as strong as that one was.

Years later, in fact this month, I found the book Texas Weather, by George W. Bomar, and read the highest sustained winds in a hurricane, 145 miles an hour, were at Matagorda and Port Lavaca in September 1961. There was another years later at Port Lavaca, but not the one my father was in after we got out of town in 1940.

No hurricane ever generated as much rainfall or as many tornadoes as Hurricane Beulah, the third largest hurricane in Texas weather history.

Beulah dumped torrential rains of 10 inches or more on a vast area of South Texas from San Antonio south to the Rio Grande and to the Gulf of Mexico. There were more than 100 tornadoes but few people were killed because most were well-prepared for it.

The second edition of Texas Weather is in the McAllen Public Library and is where you can find most of what you need to know about hurricanes.

A second book, That Terrible Texas Weather, is among one of the other hurricane stories that are found in nearly all libraries.

Some of the stories are hard to take, especially how many people died at Galveston, estimated between 5,000 to 8,000 on Sept. 8, 1900. Most people now realize the higher number was correct.

Nearly all people now will obey when someone tells them a great hurricane is coming. They laughed at it before people understood what had happened at Galveston all those years ago.

Texas probably does better than any state in the country at preparing for hurricanes and the other natural disasters.

Newcomers to the Valley, as well as people who never heard about the deadliness of hurricanes and tornadoes, should try to remember before they go to the beach someday when they don't know one of those natural disasters is coming soon.

The stories of the problems, especially the disaster at Galveston more than a century ago, should be read by everybody, especially children or old folks who think they know it all already.

For heavy reading that will chill you, but maybe will save your life some day, is worth reading before you take a chance you shouldn't. If you enjoy seeing hurricanes, stick around in the Valley, because it is one of the best places to come in all the United States to find one. Just be careful where you go when the water is over your head.

You can find more information about hurricanes, preparation checklists and a hurricane tracking map on our website,