PEARL – Saturday, August 17th will mark the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille’s landfall in Mississippi. To remember those who lost their lives and to remember the impact Camille had on the state, Governor Bryant has declared this week as ‘Hurricane Camille 50th Anniversary Week’.

In the nighttime hours of August 17, 1969, Camille made landfall in Mississippi near Waveland. The Category 5 storm remains the second-strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in United States history, and its power was demonstrated as it made its trek across the state. The storm was responsible for 143 deaths in Mississippi and caused more than $1 billion in damage. Nationwide, 256 lives were lost.

“Mississippians should be aware that while the state is better prepared than ever to respond to a hurricane, it is imperative to take an active role in improving their ability to prepare for, survive and recover from the impacts of hurricanes by developing a family emergency plan, learning evacuation routes,” Governor Bryant said in his proclamation. “By promoting preparedness information about the dangers to the public’s health and safety that hurricanes pose and helping with relief efforts when these powerful storms strike, we can reduce the loss of life and property and help our neighbors recover more quickly from their devastating effects.” 

Camille not only had a lasting effect on the lives of those who lived in Mississippi, but it also influenced how hurricanes are monitored and categorized. The storm led to the creation of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This scale rates storms from categories 1 to 5, with 74 mile per hour winds representing the lowest Category 1 storm, while any system with wind speeds greater than 157 mph is labeled a Category 5 storm. A re-analysis of Camille found wind speeds nearing 200 mph.

“Camille was a devastating hurricane that affected the lives of thousands of people with nearly 300 lives lost,” MEMA Executive Director Greg Michel said. “But, through tragedy comes wisdom.  We learned a lot from that tragedy and how to better prepare for and survive the awesome power of mother nature.” 

To this day, there are also three unidentified storm victims. Saturday, MEMA and the Harrison County Emergency Operations Center will honor those victims with a flower ceremony at Evergreen Cemetery in Gulfport. The ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m.

MEMA encourages all those living in the state to practice hurricane preparedness. You can download MEMA’s 2019 Hurricane Preparedness Guide at

MEMA also encourages you to follow us on Twitter at @msema or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.