June 29. 1954: Hurricane Alice was the second-strongest Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the month of June since reliable records began in the 1850s. While not a major hurricane, the storm was linked to catastrophic flooding in southern Texas and northern Mexico, especially along the Rio Grande and its tributaries. The third tropical cyclone and first hurricane of the 1954 Atlantic hurricane season, Alice was one of two storms to receive the same name that year, the other being an unusual Hurricane that formed in the Caribbean in December 1954 and persisted into the new year of 1955, becoming one of only two January hurricanes on record. The first Alice developed rather suddenly on June 24 off the coast of Mexico, though it may well have formed earlier but went undetected due to limited observation before the age of weather satellites. Moving northwestward, Alice strengthened rapidly as it neared the Mexican coastline, becoming a hurricane early the next day. By midday on June 25, the hurricane reached peak winds of 110 mph before moving inland well south of the U.S.–Mexico border. The storm struck an area with few inhabitants and caused relatively minimal impacts from wind near the point of landfall and in southern Texas. As it moved inland, however, Alice produced heavy rain along and near the Rio Grande, resulting in some of the worst flooding ever seen in parts of northern Mexico and southern Texas; in some areas, the flooding amounted to a one-in-1,000-year event. The floods destroyed bridges and dikes and flooded many cities along the inner reaches of the river, which reached its highest water levels since 1865. Communities in Mexico reported significant flood damage. In the United States, damage was heaviest in Ozona, Texas, where on June 29 1954, the floods killed 15 people. In all, flooding from Hurricane Alice killed at least 55 people, including 17 in the U.S. and 38 in Mexico, though many deaths in rural Mexico may have gone unreported; the total death toll could have exceeded 150.
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