Remembering Hurricane Betsy 50 Years Later
To most Americans and even most residents of South Louisiana the hurricane that they most associated with the city of New Orleans is Katrina. Ten years ago the storm swept ashore just east of the city and a lot of really bad things happened. Before Katrina there was another storm that older residents spoke of with reverence. That storm was named Betsy and 50 years ago today Betsy was earning a place in Louisiana history.
There were winds in New Orleans at 125 miles per hour so the winds were actually higher in Betsy than they were in Katrina within the city, so the ravage of that storm, not only did you have the surge damage but you had wind damage on top of it.
Those are the words of State Climatologist Barry Keim. Keim made his remarks in a story published by the Louisiana Radio Network.
Hurricane Betsy came ashore at night. There was rampant flooding through out the New Orleans area and even though people new the storm was coming, very few made the decision to leave.
They knew this was a big time storm. Thousands fleeing from the coast, so obviously they were getting people off of the coast line, but I think the evacuation out of New Orleans was probably not that great.
The path of the storm not only affected the Greater New Orleans area wind gusts of 90 miles per hour were experienced in Baton Rouge. It's estimated that Hurricane Betsy caused more that a billion dollars in damage. During the course of the storm 75 lives were lost as well.
It was because of Betsy that many changes in policy and procedure were adopted regarding hurricanes in New Orleans. Many believe that the lessons learned because of Betsy helped save thousands of lives during subsequent storms like Katrina.