Monday, August 17, 2015

The Weather Outside Was Frightful

Hurricane Camille made landfall in Waveland, Mississippi as a Category 5 (on the Saffir-Simpson Scale) storm on 17 August 1969.  In all nearly 300 people were killed in the U.S., over 8,900 were injured nearly 6,000 homes were destroyed, and approximately 14,000 severely damaged. Estimated total damage costs were $9.13 billion in today's dollars, making it the second most expensive hurricane in history up to that point.

Track of Hurricane Camille; map courtesy of Wikipedia

Luckily, for the residents of Louisiana, they were on the western side of the hurricane. Yet, the death and destruction were still intense. Winds gusted up to 125 miles per hour in Slidell, Louisiana, where many members of the extended Muir family lived. Louisiana experienced storm surges of 10 to 16 feet of water, which can be catastrophic for low-lying coastal areas.

Eastbound lanes of U.S. Highway 90; image courtesy of Wikipedia

It was the last killer hurricane to make landfall with only last-minute warnings. While the use of satellites was in its infancy at the time of Camille, the storm intensified in the Gulf of Mexico and defied predictions that it would hit the Florida panhandle. The science and technology used to predict hurricanes has rapidly advanced since Camille, which makes the devastation in the wake of Katrina all the more inexplicable.

Ship was part of the destruction caused by Camille; photograph courtesy
of the Times-Picayune

This post was originally published as part of my multi-volume book, The Descendants of Robert Muir (c1800-1869)

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