Pat Shingleton: "Andrew, Gustav, Camille..."
Prior to Katrina, Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was the costliest hurricane in United States history. Twenty-seven years ago tonight was a busy time in the weather center. As noted in a previous column, we were "working the storm." Andrew roared across Florida leaving massive destruction and was now back into the Gulf of Mexico, gaining momentum. After landfall and when the tornado warnings came down, I left the station to grab a few hours sleep and check on the family. Similar to Gustav, Old Goodwood looked like loggers had paid a visit. Oak trees were strewn like pick-up sticks, intermingled with transformers and power poles. We experienced the effects of a single hurricane, the first of the season - in August. In addition, on this date in 1988, Tropical Storm Gustav was heading to Cuba. August is one of the worst months for storms in Louisiana. The “Labor Day” Hurricane of 1935 ranks number one. On August 17, 1969, Camille, ranked two as it skirted Plaquemines Parish before its center of circulation made landfall in Bay of St. Louis. Before Katrina, Camille was considered to be the comparative storm or “benchmark” whereby all Gulf Coast storms were measured.