ABSTRACT

A network of ocean data gathering stations was installed in the Gulf of Mexico in 1968. Hurricane Camille passed between two or these stations on August 17, 1969. For the first time in the Gulf, valuable hurricane data on waves and winds Were recorded at several deepwater locations. These data have been reduced to useable fonn-and are presented in several ways, including significant wave height and wave power spectral density. In addition, several hind casts of the storms were made and they are discussed briefly and compared with measured data.

History of Hurricane Camille

Sometime during the morning of August 15,1969, tropical storm Camille became a hurricane. The Stan had developed in the Westernmost part of the Caribbean near the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico. Later in the afternoon of August 15, she entered the Gulf and by noon, August 16, had taken a direction which would shortly cause her to pass directly between two instrumented plafonds of the Oceanographic Data Gathering Program. 1 Figure 1 shows a track of this intense storm in relation to the data gathering stations. The eye passed 16 miles west of South Pass Block 62Awhich is station one. It passed 47 miles east of station two and 90 miles east of station three. Waves in excess of 20 feet and winds in excess of 45 knots were recorded at all three of these locations.

The storm was a small but intense hurricane. In fact, its barometric pressure, 26.63 inches of mercury in the eye, is the second lowest ever to be recorded in the Western Hemisphere. The hurricane also had a high forward velocity. During its life, it had two eyes, an inner eye With a radius of about two or three miles and an outer eye with a radius of about 11 or 12 miles.2

Valuable oceanographic data were gathered at the stations by the Oceanographic Data Gathering Program during hurricane Camille. At station one, hurricane winds and waves were recorded until 1620 hours on August 17. At that time, both wave staffs failed and no further intonation was recorded. Sometime after that, the wind speed device was destroyed by hurricane winds. However, significant wind information was recorded before the instruments were lost. The electronics in a recorder house on the platform survived the storm without damage. On station two, both Wave staffs were pulled from their underwater connections about 1630 hours on August 17. All other instrument systems recorded satisfactorily. According to the barometer, the lowest measured pressure on station two occurred about the time the wave staffs failed. Station three operated successfully throughout the storm

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