October hurricanes can still be deadly
A calm hurricane season for September often leads to a calm October. But 50 years ago on October 3, 1964 Hurricane Hilda attacked and crossed the Louisiana coast with 115 mph winds. Just two days prior on October 1st, the winds were 150 mph.
The highest tide was 10 ft. near Atchafalaya Bay with flooding extending to South Lafourche and Grand Isle and a storm surge up to 4 ft.
Although the flooding caused major problems to the people of South Lafourche, it had no comparison to tragic deaths of 23 people in Larose by a tornado spawned by the hurricane. That record of deaths still stands today, to which no hurricane-created tornado has ever surpassed.
On October 27, 1985, Hurricane Juan meandered in the Gulf for three days causing flooding along the Louisiana coast and in the Lafourche, Terrebonne, and Grand Isle areas.
A 7.2 ft. storm surge was recorded at the newly constructed Golden Meadow floodgate.
With a partially constructed hurricane levee system, water entered the communities of South Lafourche where the federal levees had not yet been constructed. Although the water was at one time 7.2 ft. against the outside of the levee, interior flooding was at a 4.5 ft. height maximum due to the partial success of the uncompleted levee system.
This is still the record level of flooding from Larose to Golden Meadow.
On October 1, 1893, a hurricane took over 2,000 lives in coastal Louisiana. Over 700 people died at Chenier Caminada alone.
The retreat from the hurricane threat resulted in the formation of the communities of Leeville, Golden Meadow and Cut Off, with many other inland communities receiving survivors from the storm.
Although August and September have the greatest number of storms, in 1964, 1985 and 1893 the October storms were the ones that caused the most suffering.
Posted on Fri, October 10, 2014
by Windell A. Curole, South Lafourche Levee District General Manager