WDAM’s Rex Thompson remembers Hurricane Camille 53 years later
PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Hurricane Camille still ranks as the second most intense storm to hit the North American continent.
Longtime WDAM weathercaster Rex Thompson said he remembers the storm well.
I was just eight years old when hurricane Camille made a direct hit on the Mississippi coast.
The storm was originally expected to strike somewhere between Mobile and Panama City, FL, on the morning of August 17, 1969. The actual path it took was much further west, and it made landfall at 11:30 p.m. Sunday night near Bay St. Louis, MS.
From there, it traveled on a north northwest path and devasted portions of the Pine Belt, with 100 mph winds being measured in Hattiesburg at 1:45 a.m. early Monday morning.
In Columbia, where I lived, a local meteorologist, the late but great Jim Thornhill, my mentor, measured winds at 120 mph with gusts to 140 mph at 3:45 a.m. as the eye passed directly over the city.
We were without power for over two weeks.
That is a night I will never forget.
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