Hurricane Gilbert's devastating 2,500-mile-long rampage since forming Sept. 10 killed more than 130 people in the Caribbean and Mexico, left hundreds of thousands homeless and caused billions of dollars in damage. An estimated 350,000 people had been evacuated in Mexico and Texas as the storm approached.
'We saw our houses collapsing because of the winds and the rain, palms from the roof began to fly in every direction and we had to leave. I don't know what's left,' said Leonila Castilla in Ciudad Victoria.
She was among 100 people from a farm cooperative across from the Ciudad Victoria airport who fled just as the storm hit.
Dr. Castulo Hernandez was administering medicine from the trunk of a car to them at a refugee center. Adults surrounded him, while children stood around barefoot, dirty and tired.
'Other than gastro-intestinal problems among children, and diseases transmitted by mosquitos, I haven't seen any serious injuries,' the doctor said.
'We were advised around two in the afternoon by workers at the airport to leave and seek shelter. We came to the airport immediately. We don't know what happened to our homes but we hope to return today to find out ' said Marta Estoli, a mother of three.
'My family and I were frightened. I thought my house was going to fall right over our heads. It started to flood and the palms branches of the house shook,' said Pascual Castillo Esina, a farmer and the father of two.
Many citizens inside Ciudad Victoria rode out the storm in their homes.
'Two trees fell on my home, crushing one side of it. Even though we had no electricity, we had water, and we didn't leave,' said Rodrigo Martinez, a shoe shiner.
'Many are returning to their homes now. They came to the shelters because their roofs were blown off in the wind or because of flooding,' said Alejandro Buerno Prieto, director of social services for Ciudad Victoria. He said that some 2,000 people used 10 shelters.