Hurricane Camille, 1969
Camille is one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded and the most devastating natural disaster in Virginia's history. The storm formed over the Gulf of Mexico on August 14 and quickly developed, reaching a category 3 hurricane over Cuba. Making landfall on the U.S. Gulf Shore as a category 5, Camille caused catastrophic damages throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The hurricane slowed as it moved up the coast, but unexpectedly stalled on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Though reports vary, Camille hit Virginia on August 19-20 and as much as 27" of rain fell in Nelson County in a three-to-five hour span. In Nelson alone, 133 bridges were washed out. Flash flooding and landslides caused severe damages to homes and roads along the Tye and Rockfish Rivers. Charlottesville was isolated by rock and mudslides on major roadways. The James River flooded all along its path, with a peak crest of 28.6 feet in Richmond. Hurricane Camille caused a total of 153 fatalities in Virginia, with damages totaling $133 million.
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