All Weather News

125th Anniversary of Devastating Chenière Caminada Hurricane Hitting Louisiana

2 Oct 2018, 1:22 pm

[The single standing, heavily damaged home left in Cheniere Caminada, Louisiana after a hurricane hit the city in 1893. From The Advocate via Wikimedia Commons]

[NOAA] On the morning of October 2, 1893, a severe hurricane came roaring across the Louisiana coast near the village of Chenière Caminada, all but wiping the town flat and killing over half the population. The cyclone was known as the Chenière Caminada hurricane, also called the Great October Storm.

Like many late season hurricanes, this storm formed from a disturbance in the western Caribbean Sea around September 27th.  By the morning of the 29th, it was a full-blown hurricane and brushing the northeast tip of the Yucatan peninsula.  This only slightly weakened the storm and it soon regained its force over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

[Historical marker at Chenière Caminada cemetery]

Due to an approaching front, the hurricane re-curved over the northern Gulf and by the night of Oct. 1st its winds were felt along the Louisiana coast.  It had also rapidly intensified into a major hurricane, making landfall the next morning. Winds were estimated at 133 mph.  The storm surge of nearly 18 feet (5.5 m) swept away all but one house in the small community west of Grand Isle.  779 of the town’s 1471 people died in the storm.

The hurricane moved over the Mississippi Delta and into southern Mississippi and Alabama bringing surges along the coast and high winds inland.  It weakened to a tropical storm as it moved over Georgia and the Carolinas before moving out into the Atlantic Ocean.  Over the course of the storm, it killed over 2000 people and caused $5 million in damage (1893 dollars, more than $136 million in current dollars, adjusted for inflation).

[Path of the 1893 hurricane from the book The Cheniere Caminada Story: A Commemorative of the Hurricane of 1893, by Robert B. Looper, 1993.]

This was the third deadly hurricane to strike the United States that year.  After the “Midnight” hurricane struck New York City, the “Sea Islands” hurricane in mid-August had caused between 1000-2000 casualties, making 1893 one of the deadliest U.S. hurricane seasons.

Edited for WeatherNation by Meteorologist Mace Michaels

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