Gulf Coast, LA, MS, AL, FL Hurricane BETSY, Sep 1965

Track of Hurricane Betsy

HURRICANE BETSY RIPS INTO NEW ORLEANS.

250,000 FLEE BIG STORM IN FOUR-STATE GULF AREA.

TROPIC BLOW PACKS WINDS OF 150 mph.

New Orleans (UPI) -- Hurricane Betsy smashed into New Orleans early today with 150-mph winds, shattering plate glass windows, knocking down trees and littering the streets of the famed French Quarter with debris.
An estimated 250,000 persons in four states along the Gulf coast had fled their homes earlier as the mammoth storm roared in.
Betsy hit the Crescent City with her full force, causing many injuries, flooding some areas, and ripping off roofs.

City Darkened.
Almost all of the city was darkened by power failures.
Charity Hospital reported many persons were treated for injuries most of them caused by flying glass and debris.
Police said they had lost most of their radio communications and it was believed a 190-foot police radio tower had been toppled by the high winds.
Police Lieut. MARVIN LEONARD said numerous areas of the city were flooded and "many homes have lost their roofs."
Charity Hospital, the largest hospital in the state, was operating with emergency power.
Despite heavy rain, numerous small fires erupted throughout the city but fire department officials said none of them had become serious.

Directly Over City.
Weather Bureau sources reported the eye of the hurricane would pass directly over the city.
Few persons except police ventured into the streets during the height of the storm.
Betsy, which roared into the southeast Florida coast Tuesday night after battering Nassau in the Bahamas, claimed its seventh victim Thursday night -- a man killed at Panama City, Fla., in the collapse of a seawall.
Betsy was hammering the Gulf coast with its winds from Louisiana through Mississippi, Alabama, and into Florida.
As the hurricane howled into New Orleans, the roof of the Tulane Room, a popular New Orleans nightspot, was ripped off. The club's ballroom, which can hold 1,000 people, was emply when the vicious winds lifed the roof.

Killer Winds.
Betay, a highly erratic howler, pushed a 6 to 12 foot wall of water ahead of her and packed killer winds of up to 150 miles an hour.
Hurricane force winds slammed into New Orleans just shortly after city officials ordered 100,000 residents from their homes along a mile stretch of the south shore at Lake Pontchartrain.
The area included one of New Orleans' most exclusive residential sections.
The first blast left 50 per cent of New Orleans without power, and Radio Stations WDSU and WWL were knocked off the air.
Howling winds raked the small Mississippi River towns of Venice, Boothville and Buras, about 70 miles south of New Orleans. Boothville and Venice were virtually deserted, the residents having fled earlier in the day.
In Plaquemines Parish (county), where winds were clocked at 80 to 90 mph. Safety Director LUKE PETROVICH reported:
"We are just trying to preserve life."

Continued

Comments

HURRICANE BETSY@Keesler AFB

I had been at Keesler 6 weeks after basic training and had started basic electronics classes. The local TV shows were warning about an approaching hurricane. True to military tradition, when we asked the Squadron First Sgt. what was happening and what do we do if it hits the base. Told to "stop asking stupid questions". That scared me even more if there were no contingency plans what actions would be taken. THIS IS AN ACTIVE AFB WITH PLANES, But not enough hangars and didn't know if hangars were strong enough. we got a meal delivered from the back of trucks and then we marched across the bas th the concrete/cinderblock school buildings. Climbed the stairs to 4th floor and we went into classrooms and told to find a high place in the room. This meant sleeping on steel tables used for class room work. Then the lights went out till the we were awakened in a black room led out to the daylight in the hallway.
Led back to our squadron area and counted. Then told to pick up the pine cones blown off the trees. Next thing I remember is a loud arcing sound and saw an AC transformer on a pole light up & explode in tremendous spark display. AF raincoats were the worst things except for a sponge in the rain. We were hungry and seemingly leaderless. I was a ham operator and went to base radio station K5TYP. We provided communications for others thru the MARS(Military Auxiliary Radio System). Much of Mississippi was still being hammered by the rest of Betsy.
That how I remember Betsy.