Hurricane Celia was the costliest tropical cyclone in Texas history until Hurricane Alicia in 1983. The third named storm, second hurricane, and first major hurricane of the 1970 Atlantic hurricane season, Celia developed from a tropical wave in the western Caribbean Sea on July 31. Initially, the depression tracked north-northwestward without significantly strengthening, and crossed over western Cuba on August 1. Heavy rains on the island caused severe flooding, leading to five fatalities. The depression entered the Gulf of Mexico and was upgraded to Tropical Storm Celia later on August 1. Due to warm sea surface temperatures, Celia rapidly intensified into a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale on August 1. Storm surge and swells lashed the west coast of Florida, especially the Panhandle, causing eight people to drown. Early on August 2, Celia began to weaken. However, the storm underwent rapid deepening again and peaked as a Category 3 hurricane with winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) on August 3. In Louisiana, tides caused minor coastal flooding. Minor erosion damage was reported along Highway 82 in Cameron Parish. Late on August 3, Celia made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas. Throughout the state, 8,950 homes were destroyed and damaged about 55,650 others. About 252 small businesses, 331 boats, and 310 farm buildings were either damaged or destroyed. Impact was the worst in Nueces County, which observed sustained winds of and gusts as high as . In Corpus Christi, about one-third of houses suffered severe damage or were destroyed. Additionally, about 90% of the buildings in downtown were damaged to some degree. Celia weakened as it continued further inland and dissipated over New Mexico on August 6. The remnants of Celia brought up to of rainfall to the state. Overall, this storm caused 28 deaths and $930 million (1970 USD) in damage.
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