Hurricane Alice was a
Category 1 hurricane that struck extreme northern Mexico and southern
Texas in June 1954, causing at least 55 deaths.
most remembered as causing the worst flooding ever seen along the Rio Grande, destroying bridges and dike and flooding many cities along the
inner reaches of the river.
It was one of two storms named
Alice that year.
estimated to have formed as a tropical storm on June 24 in the
Mexico, where it quickly strengthened. By the morning of June
25, it had reached hurricane strength and approached the coastline
at the Rio
Grande on the United States–Mexico
border. Shortly thereafter, it made landfall just south of the border in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. The storm approximately followed the Rio
Grande after moving inland, passing over Laredo, Texas late on June 25 as it weakened.
dissipated early on June 26 over southern Texas.
Damages along the coastline
at the point
of landfall were relatively light. Only one death was reported in Brownsville,
Texas, just north of the site of landfall.
shrimp fishing boats
were driven ashore
by heavy winds.
the damage resulting from Alice was caused by heavy rain in the
inland areas of Texas, Tamaulipas and Coahuila; damage was
exacerbated in these areas by previous drought conditions that rendered the soil especially
vulnerable to erosion.
Estimates of peak rainfall within 12
hours vary from 22 inches (56 cm) to 26 inches
(132 cm), and a total of 35 inches (89 cm) of rain
fell in 24 hours, approaching the world record that had been set by
an unnamed hurricane in Texas in 1921. Heavy rain fell across all
of southern Texas and northern Mexico as a result of Alice, causing
in inland areas.
Texas, 15 people were killed in the early morning of June
25 by a "wall of water" as high as 30 feet (9.2 m) that
poured out of a dry gully and overwhelmed most
of the town. Other towns, including Lamesa, Texas and Laredo,
Texas, were also badly damaged by flash
the day, the Rio
Grande rose well above flood level at the cities of
Texas and Piedras Negras, Coahuila.
While the city of Eagle Pass was evacuated,
Piedras Negras was not. Both cities were completely flooded, and
the dike intended to protect Piedras Negras from floods was washed
away. At least 38 people (some sources say 39) were killed in
Piedras Negras after the dike collapsed. The river crested at
Texas, where waters reached a peak of 62.2 feet
(19 m), at least 10 feet (3 m) above the previous record
flood. International Bridge, connecting Laredo and
Laredo, was swept away.
Another bridge over the
was swept away by water
rising as high as 86 feet (26 m). Over 10,000 people were
evacuated from nearby Ciudad Acuña
following the flood.
Estimates for total death toll range from 55 to 153. Death toll
estimates for Texas range from 16 to 38, while estimates of deaths
in Mexico, where records are less complete, vary more widely.
Monetary damage figures are not available, but it is known that
flooding from Alice caused considerable damage to crops, primarily
disastrous flooding caused by Hurricane Alice along the Rio Grande accelerated the joint US-Mexico Amistad dam project, a series of
flood control dams
designed to prevent similar catstrophes in the future.
project, in the planning stages for decades before the storm, was
finally begun in 1960.
The name Alice was not retired as a result of this storm; though
the storm caused many deaths, damages were light. It was used again
later in the 1954
season and again in the 1973 season
. It has not been
used since and is not on a current naming list.