Case Study Summary — Reid

Hurricane Camille

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Hurricane Camille was a storm that developed off the coast of West Africa. It grew in intensity as it traveled across the Atlantic and hit Cuba as a Category 2. After wreaking havoc on Cuba, the hurricane came into the Gulf of Mexico, gained strength, and hit the coast of Mississippi as a Category 5 hurricane on August 17, 1969. The winds were measured at 180-190 mph with gales of 210-mph at its strongest. Whole towns were leveled from both the wind and the storm surge from the storm. There are pictures that show where entire buildings were before the storm and then that same building missing in a picture taken after the storm. One of the reasons for the high death toll of this storm was the timing of the major points of the storm. When the storm first made landfall, it was a little before midnight.

As Hurricane Camille moved through Mississippi, it weakened and crossed the northern border as simply a Tropical Depression. Unfortunately, the storm met with a line of storms from a Tropical cyclone that was passing over Kentucky and regained some of its strength as it turned into Virginia. It dropped torrential rain for roughly eight hours (according to reports), causing flash flooding and landslides on either side of the Appalachian mountains. Like the initial landfall, most of the damage was done in the middle of the night. The rain in Virginia started around 10pm and did not let up until the early morning. The storm finally returned to Atlantic ocean late on August 20th.

What I found particularly interesting was the response to the storm. Some 17 Federal Agencies came to help with the recovery efforts. The usual people were there like the Military and the Red Cross. The IRS and the Treasury also aided in recovery efforts. The IRS helped people who sustained large property losses as well as gave information about “casualty deductions.” When it came time for the people of Mississippi to rebuild their towns, they essentially ignored making any efforts towards lasting mitigation. Instead, they rebuilt buildings on the same land that had just flooded without raising the structures or designing them to withstand high winds. In regards to the shore, they rebuilt the large hotels and apartment complexes along the water without modifying them for future storm surge.

The total deaths from this storm was over 262 and the estimated damages was around $1.5 billion (1969 values).

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2 thoughts on “Case Study Summary — Reid

  1. That is very strange that they rebuilt the exact same things in the same places. I’m not sure why they would, because if they’re already spending so much on rebuilding why not just add in a little more so they wouldn’t have to do it all over again if another storm hit? It is also very interesting that the storm was able to regain so much power by combining with other storms!

  2. I visited this area a few months ago and stopped on the side of the road to read the sign you have pictured. I was fascinated that such a major hurricane could impact a mountainous area, when you think of hurricanes you think of primarily coastal areas. It also amazes me how far this storm came and the path it took, from Africa and “hooked” up the Gulf before going through this area of Virginia that was devastated. This summary goes to show the major secondary hazards associated with Hurricanes and how it dramatically impacts any area. The fact that this storm intensified over land versus over water due to another tropical type storm is amazing. This area being so high in elevation shows how intense rainstorms can be a secondary hazard creating mass movements and flash floods. The area where this sign is is like a “pool”, high mountains around with a flat valley which is a perfect condition for severe flooding. The fact that this hurricane hit the area at night also is a factor for safe evacuation and being able to “see what was coming”. This area being so remote, one has to wonder if they had any proper forewarning prior to this Hurricane.
    On a side note- there is a mountain in this area that shows “scaring” from when a mass movement occurred. The side of the mountain is bare with some vegetation growth coming back. Regardless of a devastating impact by a Hurricane, mass movement hazards are still prone to this area.

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