Tropical Events – 1960s
1969 - Hurricane Camille
Camille moved inland in mid-August as a Category 5 hurricane just east of Bay St. Louis, MS, and was one of the most intense storms in recorded North Atlantic tropical cyclone history to that point. An unprecedented storm surge of 25 feet crashed into the Mississippi Coast, inundating everything within two miles of the beach from Henderson Point to Biloxi. Tides ran 15 to 32 feet above normal just east of the storm's center and 3 to 5 feet above normal as far east as Apalachicola, FL. Along the coasts of southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, 5,238 homes were destroyed. Northerly winds pushed a massive surge of water through the marshes, over both east and west bank Mississippi River levees, destroying almost everything along its path. The final death count for the U.S. was listed at 256, including 143 on the Gulf coast, with damage estimates exceeding $1.4 billion along the Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coasts.
1966 - Hurricane Alma
In early June, after causing serious damage and fatalities in Cuba, Hurricane Alma caused more than $300,000 in damage in the Florida Keys, without making landfall there. Alma then proceeded north nearly parallel with the western coast of Florida to make landfall on June 9 in the Apalachee Bay area. Tides on Florida's west coast ranged up to 10 feet above normal, and a large portion of Cedar Key was inundated. Alma was responsible for 6 deaths and more than $10 million in damage in the United States.
1965 - Hurricane Betsy
Betsy was a Category 3 hurricane when it made landfall in southern Florida on September 8, bringing storm tides of up to 6 to 10 feet above normal between Fort Lauderdale and Key Largo. High winds, tidal flooding, and beach erosion caused substantial damage along the lower Florida east coast. Hurricane Betsy continued across the Gulf of Mexico and approached the U.S. Gulf coast, with the storm surge pushing up the Mississippi River and into Lake Pontchartrain. A storm surge of 10 feet caused New Orleans to suffer its worst flooding since the hurricane of 1947, while tides of 10 to 12 feet affected much of the Gulf coast from Louisiana to Alabama. Betsy claimed
81 lives and caused $1.4 billion in damages, making it the first U.S. hurricane to inflict billion-dollar damage.
1964 - Hurricane Hilda
Hilda made landfall in early October on the central Louisiana coast as a Category 3 hurricane, bringing tides of 2 to 6 feet above mean sea level from Apalachicola, FL, to the upper Texas coast. The highest reported tide was 10 feet at Atchafalaya Bay on the central Louisiana coast. A preliminary estimate set damages in the $100 million range. Hurricane Hilda was responsible for 38 deaths – a total that could have been much higher if not for the extensive evacuations.
1964 - Hurricane Dora
Hurricane Dora was the first storm of full hurricane intensity to cross the northeast Florida coastline since records began in 1885. Dora made landfall on September 10 over St. Augustine, bringing tides of 12 feet to that area and up to 10 feet in other areas north of Daytona Beach. Tides on the Gulf coast of Florida were reported to reach 6 feet above normal. The resulting damage was estimated to be about $250 million, with some communities isolated for days by the flooding. Hurricane Dora was also responsible for 1 death.
1961 - Hurricane Carla
Carla was a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall on September 11 near Port O'Connor, TX, between Houston and Corpus Christi, although Carla's effects were felt by all of the Gulf Coast states. Tides of more than 10 feet above mean sea level were estimated along the coast from Port Aransas to Sabine Pass, TX. The highest tide reported was 18.5 feet at Port Lavaca. Hurricane Carla was responsible for 46 deaths and damage estimates were set at $408 million. Carla was severe, but loss of life was held to a minimum by timely information and well-planned evacuations.
1960 - Hurricane Donna
Donna came ashore on September 10 over the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane. Donna brought storm surge of as much as 13 feet above normal in the Keys and generally 8 to 12 feet to the northeast and southwest of the hurricane's track, destroying or severely damaging 75% of the buildings along a 35-mile strip of the Keys. On the southwestern Florida coast, the storm surge was up to 11 feet above normal as far north as Naples. Hurricane Donna moved into the Gulf of Mexico before passing inland again at Ft. Myers. High tides in this area were estimated to be 4 to 7 feet above normal. Donna moved out into the Atlantic, but made landfall again between Wilmington and Morehead City, NC. Tides of 6 to 8 feet above normal along the North Carolina and Virginia coasts, with waves reported from 15 to 20 feet, caused severe damage. Tides reached 7 feet above normal at Norfolk, VA. Donna moved back offshore again near the Virginia/Maryland line. Storm surge of
4 to 6 feet swept along the Maryland and Delaware coasts as Donna moved back offshore. Hurricane Donna continued up the eastern coast of the U.S. and made landfall again over New York and New England, with tides of 6 feet above normal near Atlantic City, NJ, and Long Island, NY, and 5 to 10 feet above normal along the southern New England coast. Despite the considerable damage in the area, the storm surge arrived on the New England coast at the time of normal low tide, saving that area from even worse destruction. Despite the storm's severity, preparations and evacuations kept fatalities and injuries from Hurricane Donna relatively low, with 50 U.S. deaths attributed to the storm. U.S. damage was estimated at $387 million.