Remembering Hurricane Camille 50 years later

Weatherwatch: rain of ‘biblical proportions’ may not be hyperbole

Biblical proportions” is an expression that headline writers use when trying to describe unprecedented rainfall or flooding. And “Biblical rain” was one tabloid’s response to a prediction that this month would be the wettest ever August. The near-disaster at Whaley Bridge was described in similar terms.

Meteorologists do sometimes refer to rainfall of biblical proportions, but only in exceptional cases. According to Genesis, the flood followed rain that lasted 40 days and 40 nights.

The term has been applied with some justification to a projected once-in-a-200-year storm in California known as the ARkStorm. This was extrapolated by scientists at the United States Geological Survey in 2011, based on storm in 1861/2 that dumped three metres of precipitation in 43 days.

In this type of storm, hot air and moisture from the tropical Pacific form atmospheric rivers that flow over the coast, producing a series of storms lasting several weeks.

ARkStorm is short for atmospheric river storm, but also refers to Noah’s ark. An ARkStorm would leave thousands of square miles submerged under up to six metres of water and require millions of people to be evacuated from their homes…


Remembering Hurricane Camille 50 years later

Hurricane Camille 1969

Hurricanes Camille and Katrina were as different as night and day, yet those who lived through both storms say the two were similar in many ways.

Saturday, Aug. 17 is the 50th anniversary of Camille and Aug. 29 will be 14 years since Katrina.

“Camille was a Sunday Storm,” said Rupert Lacy, now emergency management director for Harrison County. He was going on 11 and recalls going to church with his family in Gulfport the day before Camille. They made a stop at Shipley Donuts, as was their Sunday routine, before his father and brother went looking for plywood to board up their home in Orange Grove. They found supplies miles away in Pascagoula. By morning their church was gone, he said, and the Coast was in ruins.

Katrina came ashore on a Monday morning, so those who remained saw the incredible storm surge and waves on top of that rush toward their homes and chase some of them into their attics to survive the flood…


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