27th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology


A comparison of hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Camille (1969)

Jay S. Hobgood, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

In August of 1969 Tropical Storm Camille was classified over the western Caribbean Sea. As the storm moved toward the westnorthwest, it intensified rapidly. The minimum surface pressure decreased 27 hPa in the first 24 hours of record in the best track data set. Hurricane Camille continued to intensify rapidly and the minimum surface pressure decreased an additional 56 hPa in the second 24 hours of record. The minimum surface pressure varied between 905 hPa and 909 hPa until the storm struck the coast of Mississippi as a Category 5 hurricane. The winds and storm surge associated with Hurricane Camille devastated portions of the coast.

Hurricane Katrina devastated the same portion of the coast of Mississippi 36 years after Camille. The tropical cyclone named Katrina formed near the Bahamas. Unlike Camille, it took more time for the circulation around Katrina to organize. The minimum surface pressure fell only 5 hPa in the first 24 hours. However, it should be noted that Camille was already a tropical storm when it was first classified. Katrina continued to intensify as it approached Florida and it was a Category 1 hurricane when it hit southeastern Florida. As it moved over southern Florida, the environmental flow began to push the hurricane toward the southwest into the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The minimum surface pressure decreased by 42 hPa during the first 24 hours while Katrina was over the Gulf of Mexico. After a period when the minimum surface pressure changed little, another period of rapid intensification occurred and the minimum surface pressure decreased an additional 43 hPa in 24 hours. The minimum surface pressure in Katrina was 902 hPa which is comparable to the minimum surface pressure in Camille. Katrina weakened slightly before it hit the coast of Mississippi as a Category 3 hurricane, but it still caused devastating damage in the same areas hit by Camille.

This paper will provide a detailed comparison between Hurricane Camille (1969) and Hurricane Katrina (2005). Both hurricanes occurred in August. Although the storms took different paths, they reached the same section of the coast of Mississippi with similar destructive effects. Camille intensified more rapidly than Katrina and it maintained status as a Category 5 hurricane until landfall. However, the observed minimum pressure in Katrina was slightly lower. Both hurricanes underwent periods of rapid intensification. The surrounding synoptic and upper oceanic environments will be examined in order to describe significant similarities and differences between the two hurricanes.


Session 16C, Tropical Cyclones and Climate V - Atlantic Basin
Friday, 28 April 2006, 10:30 AM-12:30 PM, Big Sur

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