Hurricane Camille – 1969

“On 18 August, Hurricane Camille made landfall on Mississippi between Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian as an incredibly powerful hurricane. The precise wind speed at landfall will never be known because all measuring instruments were destroyed during the hurricane’s impact (it is estimated that gusts reached 322 km/h [200 mph]). Electricity also went out as the storm approached.

As Hurricane Camille came ashore, it caused a great amount of destruction. A 7.5 m (24.6 ft) storm surge inundated 860,000 acres of land in Louisiana and overtopped seawalls along the Mississippi shore, pushing water three to four blocks inland along the state’s entire coast. U.S. Highway 90, which runs along the shore, flooded as the storm surge crested seawalls and was badly broken and covered in much debris. The barrier islands along the Gulf Coast were badly damaged. The storm surge inundated 70% of Dauphin Island, a 22.5 km (14 mi) long island along the Alabama coast. A combination of strong winds and rain split Ship Island, off the coast of Mississippi, into two separate islands.

Fast Facts:
  • The devastation of Camille inspired the implementation of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale after Gulf Coast residents commented that hurricane warnings were insufficient in conveying the expected intensity of storms.
  • Hurricane Camille generated waves in the Gulf of Mexico that were at least 21 m (70 ft) in height.
  • Hurricane Camille created the highest storm surge recorded at that time in the Atlantic Basin at 7.5 m (24.6 ft). This measurement was based upon high water marks inside the three surviving buildings (the V.F.W. Club, the Avalon Theatre, and one house) and debris lines in Pass Christian, MS. This record value was surpassed in 2005 by the 8.47 m (27.8 ft) surge produced by Hurricane Katrina.
  • As evacuees returned to Mississippi, the Governor declared martial law, blocking highways into the damaged areas, creating a 6 PM to 6 AM curfew, and opening dormitories at the University of Southern Mississippi and rooms at the Robert E. Lee hotel to shelter those who lost their homes.
  • Camille forced the Mississippi River to flow backwards from its mouth in Venice, LA to a point north of New Orleans, LA, a distance of 200 km (125 mi) along its track. From there, the river backed up an additional 190 km (120 mi) to a point north of Baton Rouge.
  • Like other catastrophic Category 5 hurricanes, including Hurricane Andrew (1992) and the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, the diameter of Camille was relatively small. A report from reconnaissance aircraft as the hurricane was near its peak intensity described winds of more than 185 km/h (>115 mph) just 48-65 km (30-40 mi) from the eye.

All Extracted from

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