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Posted: Monday, 18 August 2014 6:59AM

45th anniversary of Hurricane Camille

Forty-five years ago today one of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history made landfall along the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Camille was a Category Five storm when it churned over the mouth of the Mississippi River, before slamming into the Mississippi coast.
"Camille was an incredible storm for the U.S. Gulf Coast, in fact it was the signature storm until Hurricane Katrina hit," said Louisiana climatologist Barry Keim
Keim says Camille ranks as the second strongest on record in U.S. history at the time of landfall.
The storm killed an estimated 259 people in Louisiana and Mississippi. In those days, US 90 was a major east-west route. Keim says flooding tore the highway up and left debris everywhere.
"Camille produced the second highest storm surge ever measured along the US Gulf Coast, 24 feet at Pass Christian, Mississippi," he said.
Keim says Camille is the reason why we now have the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
"That's when they finally decided, 'well heck, we need a system to try to measure these hurricanes,' and give people some idea of how bad they might be when they actually do make a landfall," said Keim.
Camille became the benchmark for Gulf Coast residents, to which all other storms were compared. That lasted until 2005, when Hurricane Katrina killed far more people and delivered far more damage, despite its lower ranking on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
Flash-forward to 2014, the Atlantic hurricane season has yet to produce its "C" storm. Camille shows us that even in mid-August, just the third storm of the season can be a killer hurricane.

(image credit NOAA Photo Library via flickr.com)

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