National Hurricane Center Slightly Downgrades 1969's Hurricane Camille

In a re-analysis of one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the United States, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded Hurricane Camille's winds at landfall from 190 MPH to 175 MPH. This adjustment knocks 1969's Camille from its spot as the strongest landfalling hurricane in the country to the second most powerful hurricane to hit the country.

Though its winds were adjusted down by 15 MPH, the storm still remains an intense Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale.

The brief NHC report, dated for April 1, announces the agency's findings during its thorough re-analysis of every tropical system in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific from 1851 through today.

Based upon this reassessment, Hurricane Camille is indicated at landfall on the Mississippi coast to have been a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with peak sustained winds of 175 mph and a central pressure of 900 mb. This is the same category as analyzed originally, but the peak sustained winds were reduced from 190 mph and the central pressure lowered from 909 mb. Camille is also reanalyzed to have undergone genesis as a tropical cyclone 18 hours earlier than first indicated on August 14, 1969.

The most powerful hurricane to make landfall in the United States is now the 1929 Labor Day Hurricane, which struck the Florida Keys with winds of 185 MPH. 1992's Hurricane Andrew keeps its place as the third strongest hurricane to hit the country when it made landfall in southeastern Florida with 165 MPH winds.

The meteorologists at the NHC conducted the study based on surface and radar observations, aircraft observations, satellite imagery, "and based upon our current understanding of hurricanes today."


Note: Hurricanes are not referred to as "he" or "she," but rather "it." When Camille hit the Gulf Coast, it had 175 MPH winds.


[Image via NOAA]