For tropical meteorologists, Hurricane Camille holds a fascination as one of the most intense landfalling hurricanes on U.S. record and for a number of mysteries associated with its meteorological statistics and best-track record. This research, funded by CPO’s Climate Observation Division, was published in the March edition of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS).
A reanalysis of 1969’s Hurricane Camille has been completed as part of the Atlantic Hurricane Database Reanalysis Project. The reanalysis of Hurricane Camille has been expedited to allow for a homogeneous comparison of all four of the U.S.-landfalling Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale category 5 hurricanes since 1900. A review of the available ship, station, radar, aircraft, and satellite observations is presented, along with the reanalysis methodology. Highlights of the Best-Track Change Committee approved changes to Camille’s genesis, track, intensity, and dissipation are discussed. As part of the preparation for the reanalysis, research on Hurricane Camille uncovered new data useful to the reanalysis. Focus was placed on understanding the internal structure in a modern context, especially whether eyewall replacement cycles occurred, including comparisons with a similar hurricane used as a proxy. A more detailed understanding was gained of the tropical wave and genesis phases. In addition, a 901-mb dropsonde that was later rejected was reanalyzed to find out why and to see if an accurate central pressure could be determined. New landfall surface pressures along the Mississippi coast were discovered and a significant revision is made to the U.S.-landfall central pressure and intensity (maximum sustained surface winds). Additionally, a radar “loop” was constructed from archived Weather Surveillance Radar-1957 (WSR-57) film, including landfall, marking the very first time that this historic hurricane can be viewed in a time-lapse movie format.
Access a PDF of the report: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/BAMS-D-14-00137.1