Forty-three years ago, on August 17, 1969, Hurricane Camille made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as a Category 5 storm, causing extensive damage and fatalities. According to the National Weather Service, the actual maximum sustained winds will never be known, because the hurricane destroyed the wind-recording instruments in the landfall area. But the estimates at the coast are near 200 mph. Columbia, Mississippi, 75 miles inland, recorded 120 mph sustained winds. Weakening as it made its way through Tennessee and Kentucky, Camille caused unprecedented flash flooding and more casualties in West Virginia and Virginia.
During the height of the emergency, Red Cross fed and sheltered 257,500 disaster victims and relief workers. Cooperating with federal and state authorities, Red Cross assisted families in the long-term task of returning to normal living. The cost of the Red Cross relief operation totaled $21 million.