Sunday marked the 45th anniversary of Hurricane Camille, which devastated the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Steve Reid and his wife are visiting the Coast from North Carolina and took a few minutes to remember the lives lost during Hurricane Camille. Reid says, “I remember Camille when it happened. Came to see what it was, what was here.”
When Camille made landfall in Bay St. Louis on August 17th, 1969, the category 5 hurricane, with winds over 155 miles per hour, caused more than $1.4 billion in damage. National Weather Service (N.W.S.) meteorologists say because the storm shifted paths, there was not enough time to prepare. Danielle Manning, a meteorologist with the N.W.S., says, “So there was a lot of uncertainty in the landfall location and I think that did cause some problems as far as preparations were concerned because by the time the track shifted further west, there were really only about 18 hours before the storm made landfall.”
A lot has changed since the late 1960s and we are now better equipped to prepare for hurricanes with new technology and easier ways to track forming storms. Manning also says, “Forecasting has definitely changed since the 1960s with Camille. There's a lot more ways to observe them. We have far more information coming into the National Weather Service from satellites, surface observations, even ships sending observations into the National Weather Service.”
N.W.S. meteorologists tell News 25 they have even seen a change in the way data is collected since Hurricane Katrina. Manning closes, “Even in the past 10 years, I think we've seen some great strides. We've introduced some new products to talk about the extreme winds near the eye wall, and I think that our communication of the different threats has definitely improved as well.”
The N.W.S. is using this new technology to better track storms so they can better prepare the public for hurricanes, and save more lives from the raging path of storms like Camille. On August 29th and 30th, the American Red Cross will host a blood drive at Edgewater Mall to pay tribute to those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina.