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).