Hurricane Camille 1969

The destruction left by Hurricane Camille.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Camille, which tore a path of destruction across the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

According to the National Weather Service, Camille was one of only three Category 5 hurricanes to make landfall in the United States in the 20th century, the others being Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and a Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys in 1935. Camille formed just west of the Cayman Islands on Aug. 14, 1969 and intensified rapidly. It became a Category 5 hurricane on Aug. 16, one day before making landfall between Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian, Mississippi.

The storm also caused heavy flooding in Plaquemines Parish. Although winds of 175 mph were reported, according to the weather service, Camille’s actual maximum sustained winds will never be known because it destroyed the wind-recording instruments in the area.

The storm caused 259 deaths, including more than 100 in Virginia, where Camille’s remnants spawned flash floods.