History Of The Hurricane Camille

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Beginning on August 14, 1969, Hurricane Camille traveled through the East Coast, with the most damage in Alabama, Virginia, Florida, and landfall in Mississippi and Cuba. Hurricane Camille has been named the second most intense hurricane, the third strongest tropical cyclone, and is one of the four Category Five hurricanes that have been able to make landfall in the United States. (1, 4) This was an extremely rare weather event with wind speeds up to 200 miles per hour, over 250 fatalities, and $1.4 billion in damage in 1969, which is equivalent to about $9.7 billion in 2019.

In preparation for the storm, the National Hurricane center advised boats on the smaller side to stay in and not veer far from the harbor. Farm animals were also moved to areas that have would promote an increased likelihood of survival. (7) In the areas that were at high risk for landfall, only about 54% of the 150,000 people were evacuated to safety. (8)

Mississippi and the coast of Alabama endured the most damage. The damage included fallen trees and powerlines, damage to roofs, crop damage, destruction of buildings and homes, roads covered in sand, and washed-out roads. (1) States, such as Virginia, also endured major damage, but this was due to severe flooding. The storm released 27+ inches of water, and this flooding was the cause of 113 of the 250+ fatalities. (3)

Wind speeds during the actual landfall could be recorded during Hurricane Camille because the storm destroyed all wind-recording instruments that were set in place to record speeds in the Mississippi area. (2) This influenced scientists to create new technology that can withstand these conditions. Technology has also been created that can survey areas that have been damaged using a drone. Satellite imaging, aerial imaging, and drone usage help prepare for and track the storm. (5) However, at the time, the country as a whole was not prepared for the storm in a technological sense.

The most similar event that has occurred since and can be compared to Hurricane Camille is Hurricane Katrina. Although Hurricane Katrina was more severe than Hurricane Camille, the United States was more prepared for Hurricane Katrina. However, if an extreme weather event like this were to happen now, the country would be even more prepared for it. This is mainly because technology constantly advances, but no matter how much technology advances, there will always be damage. (6)

Hurricane Camille left 8,931 people injured, 5,662 homes destroyed, and 13,915 with severe damage. (4) Though the citizens were not as prepared as they could have been, Hurricane Camille acted as a lesson for future hurricanes and extreme weather events. Hurricane Camille inspired research into technological advances to withstand the strongest winds of the hurricane and to help prepare for and track the storm with satellite and drone technology.  

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