Hurricane Camille made landfall on the Mississippi coast on August 17, 1969. It was one of only 3 Category 5 hurricanes to still be Category 5 at landfall, in the United States. It was small but powerful.
From the National Hurricane Center via the Jackson MS Office of the National Weather Service: “Landfall winds were estimated as high as 200 mph. Columbia, Mississippi, located 75 miles inland, reported 120 mph sustained winds. A storm tide of 24.6 ft occurred at Pass Christian, Mississippi. The heaviest rains along the Gulf Coast were about 10 inches. However, as Camille passed over the Virginias, it produced a burst of 12 to 20 inch rains with local totals of up to 31 inches. Most of this rain occurred in 3 to 5 hours and caused catastrophic flash flooding. The combination of winds, surges, and rainfalls caused 256 deaths (143 on the Gulf Coast and 113 in the Virginia floods) and $1.421 billion in damage. Three deaths were reported in Cuba.”
Hurricane Camille had the second lowest pressure on record for a landfalling hurricane in the United States. Based on the small size of the storm and the relatively low population of where it made landfall at the time, Camille was not as expensive as many hurricanes that later hit the US. It’s not even in the top 20 most-expensive hurricanes, but it was still deadly. Read the short version of Camille’s history from the National Hurricane Center, along with histories of other storms in the past.
Watch this documentary, “A Lady Named Camille”.
See photos of Camille’s destruction along the Mississippi Coast, from NOAA.
Additional Hurricane Camille aftermath photos are archived at the University of Colorado.
Here’s the original Hurricane Camille full set of bulletins as a pdf file.