Hurricane Frederic in 1979

hurricane Frederic program
Program Frederic, A Night to Remember

On the evening of September 12, 1979, Hurricane Frederic crossed the west end of Dauphin Island as a Category 4 hurricane. It then traveled northward along the Alabama-Mississippi state line.

According to the National Weather Service…

  • Frederic was the first hurricane to directly strike Mobile County since the 1930s.
  • It set an all-time record low pressure at Mobile’s airport.
  • Damage costs were around $2.3 billion at the time.
  • It still had hurricane-force winds near Meridian, Mississippi.
  • Nearly a foot of rain fell in Jackson County, Mississippi.
  • Mobile Bay saw up to 10 feet of storm surge while some Gulf Beaches saw up to 15 feet.
  • A half a million people in the region evacuated and that helped to keep the death toll to around a half-dozen, directly from Frederic.
  • Some people were without electricity in Mobile for months.
hurricane on radar
Hurricane Frederic radar in 1979

Here’s the full story of Frederic from Mobile’s National Weather Service Office.

Watch the original videos of Frederic’s aftermath recorded by WKRG-TV on YouTube. NOAA’s Natural Disaster Survey, following Hurricane Frederic. Here are more photos of damage along Dog River from Frederic.

These are some of the reports of highest wind gusts from Frederic. Note that many instruments failed so these are not the highest wind that Frederic produced.

  • 145 mph Dauphin Island, AL
  • 115 mph Pascagoula, MS
  • 97 mph Mobile’s Airport
  • 96 mph NAS Pensacola
  • 90 mph Hattiesburg, MS
  • 78 mph Pensacola, FL

These are some Storm Tide values reported from Hurricane Frederic.

  • 12 feet Gulf Shores
  • 12 feet south of Mobile Tunnel
  • 11 feet Fort Morgan
  • 9 feet Bayou La Batre
  • 9 feet Fairhope

Watch this “retro video” documentary- Hurricane Frederic, Picking up the Pieces, from the National Archives.

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