Gulf Shores Alabama


Historic Alabama Hurricane Facts

Ever wondered just what year a certain hurricane that affected the Gulf Shores area was?
Well, here is the list of storms that affected Gulf Shores

  • 1906 a hurricane just west causes a very high storm surge of 10 ft Sept 27th
  • 1916 a hurricane just west causes winds over 100mph & a 10ft storm surge
  • 1926 a cat 2 hits from the east in Sept
  • 1950 Baker a cat 1 hits from the south on august 30,gusts to 115mph
  • Camille , the most powerful storm in U.S. history killed 143 people along the Gulf Coast after roaring ashore in Mississippi on Aug. 17, 1969. Even Tropical Storms that are never classified as hurricanes can cause tremendous damage from both winds and tremendous amounts of rainfall. While Hurricane Camille devastated the coast of Mississippi on landfall in 1969, the storm moved inland, flooding areas of Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. Almost half of the 256 people killed by Camille died in floods away from the coast.
    The Camille storm surge was a record 24 1/2 above sea level at Pass Christian, Mississippi. The Richelieu Apartment complex, located near the shoreline, was a three-story concrete structure. As Camille approached, twenty-five residents refused to evacuate. Instead, they threw a "hurricane" party in Camille's honor. Camille's storm surge destroyed the complex and only two people survived the storm.
  • 1979 sept 12th Frederic passed 45 miles to the west as a cat 3 area hit hard. Frederic forever changed Gulf Shores !
  • 1985 Elena passes just south as a cat 3 moving west north west after making several odd movements in biggest evacuation every in the county never hit here but came close with 120mph winds (minor damage)
  • 1995 Erin from the east with 75mph winds most of damage was in fl panhandle
  • 1995 Opal passed to the south as a cat 2 & would later hit the FL panhandle & devastate areas in Fla. Opal moved a lot of sand around on our beaches.
  • 1997 Hurricane Danny 75mph slow moving dumps 40inches of rain here.
  • 1998 Hurricane Georges 70 miles to west this area got hurricane gusts & very high storm tides causing moderate damage. George was 105 mph well to west
  • 2004 IVAN the worst year for Gulf Shores! Sept 15-16, 2004...A very powerful and unusual storm. Max. sustained winds: 212 kmpm (132 mph). The first major hurricane on record to form as low as 10 degrees latitude. Ivan was recorded as the 6th most intense hurricane on record, with a minimum central pressure recorded at 910 millibars.  Hurricane Ivan was an encore performer with two landfalls during 2004, first as a Category 3 hurricane near Gulf Shores, Ala., and second as a tropical storm over southwestern Louisiana.  Ivan broke several hydrological records; it is credited with possibly causing the largest ocean wave ever recorded, a 91-foot (27 meter) wave that may have been as high as 131 feet (40 m), and the fastest seafloor current, at 2.25 meters per second (5 miles per hour). Read About Hurricane IVAN More Here Trivia Question: What song was The Weather Channel playing as background music on for ' local forecast on the 8's ' during IVAN evacuation? see bottom of this page for answer
    ivan-satallite.jpg (17281 bytes)
    NOAA Photo
    Aerial Photos of Hurricane Ivan
  • 2005 Worst Year Ever for the USA in general:
    More Hurricanes were spawned in July 2005 than in the recorded history of hurricanes according to NASA.  The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season has seen 23 named storms, more than at any point since record-keeping began in 1851.
  • 2005 Hurricane Dennis,  July 10--We expected the worst, but it went slightly east of us and Alabama was just 'brushed'. With winds of 135 mph (217 kph), Dennis was a powerful, Cat 4 storm. Satellite images of Hurricane Dennis show its swirling clouds covering almost all of Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and parts of Louisiana. It came towards shore at 18 mph. Dennis killed at least 10 in Cuba, more in Haiti. 
    Aerial Photos of Hurricane Dennis
  • 2005 KATRINA !!! Lordy, Lordy ....Gulf Shores Hurricane Katrina Photos
  • 2005 Rita, the ninth hurricane and 17th named storm of the June 1-Nov. 30 Atlantic hurricane season--headed towards Texas, we have some high water already--two days ahead of projected landfall. A Cat 5 --huge hurricane at present.  May have 50 ft storm surge according to Weather Channel TV
    Aerial Photos of Hurricane Rita
      Hurricane Rita wind in Gulf Shores

    A few words about Hurricane Storm Surge in the Gulf:

    Surge is the water a hurricane pushes up as it approaches shore. A number of factors contribute to its size: wind strength, air pressure, the size of a storm's eye, the distance hurricane force winds extend from the center, the speed at which it comes ashore and the angle at which it hits land.

    A Category 4 hurricane, if it's especially slow and large, can have a much larger surge than a stronger Category 5 storm. The Gulf Coast is more vulnerable to a high surge than the Atlantic coast because of its shallow continental shelf. Waters rise more easily when there's less of it to push in a shallow situation.

    A mistake many people made in deciding to ride out Hurricane Katrina, a Category 4 storm, was thinking it wouldn't be as bad as Hurricane Camille, a Category 5 storm that struck the same area 36 years ago. 

    Hurricane force winds extended 125 miles from Katrina's center, compared to 60 miles for Camille. Katrina's eye was 32 miles wide even though a Cat 4 storm normally has an eye that is 10 miles wide. In the case of Katrina, estimates have ranged from a 35-foot surge in Waveland, Mississippi to at least 15 feet along the entire Mississippi coast, which demolished most buildings near the Gulf and led to extensive inland flooding. Areas were covered in water that never before were known to flood before.

    Scientists know much more about surge today than they did in 1969 when Camille hit. They can predict with reasonable accuracy what the surge will be. But the unpredictable nature of storms makes it difficult to say far in advance which areas will be flooded and how much higher the wind-whipped waves on top of the surge will be. 

    Why so many Recent Hurricanes?
    Since 1995, the Atlantic has been in a period of higher hurricane activity. 

    Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say the busy seasons are part of a natural cycle that can last for at least 20 years, and sometimes up to 40 or 50. They say the conditions are similar to those when the Atlantic was last in a period of high activity in the 1950s and '60s.

    It's also difficult to know whether the Atlantic was even busier at any time before record keeping began in 1851. And satellites have only been tracking tropical weather since the 1960s, so some storms that just stayed at sea before then could have escaped notice.



For us, Hurricane Ivan was the worst in recent years. For the rest of the U.S.A., Hurricane Katrina is by FAR the worst. 

ani-color-change-dot.gif (924 bytes)All Our Many. Many Hurricane Ivan Photos and Links --Click Here--Will Blow Yer Mind !!

See a cool animation of Ivan's path--

Ever wondered what to expect in Gulf Shores?

    • brushed or hit every 4.22 years

Want to know how hurricanes get their Classification?

The word hurricane is used only to describe tropical cyclones with winds of at least 74 miles per hour that occur in the North Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea or the eastern North Pacific.

    • Hurricane Classification
      The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based on a hurricane’s intensity, principally wind speed.

      Category One: Winds 74 to 95 mph. Storm surge generally four to five feet above normal.

      Category Two: Winds 96 to 110 mph. Storm surge generally six to eight feet above normal.

      Category Three: Winds 111 to 130 mph. Storm surge generally nine to twelve feet above normal. Terrain lower than five feet above sea level may be flooded inland eight miles or more.

      Category Four: Winds 131 to 155 mph. Storm surge generally thirteen to eighteen feet above normal. Low-lying escape routes may be cut by rising water three to five hours before arrival of the hurricane center. Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore. Terrain lower than ten feet above sea level may be flooded as far inland as six miles.

      Category Five: Winds greater than 155 mph. Storm surge generally greater than eighteen feet above normal. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within five to ten miles of the shoreline may be required. Only 6% of hurricanes ever reach Cat 5 level winds. Only 22 have been recorded as Cat 5 and 15 were Cat 5 for one day only.


The National Hurricane Center is improving it's track forecasts by 2 percent a year, which has translated into some significant improvements.


Tropical Storm Allison, which stalled over Texas in 2001 killed 21 people in the Houston area and caused $5 billion in property damage. Some areas got almost 39 inches of rain. Recovery from that much rain is complicated because inland flooding tends to last longer than storm-surge flooding along a coastline. Roads are flooded, you lose access, and you lose infrastructure with that much flooding. During Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which hit eastern North Carolina and Virginia, 32 of 56 storm deaths were drownings related to vehicles.

hurricane-sand-deposits.gif (35326 bytes)(Illustration by Jayne Doucette)

What happens to wildlife when we have a hurricane?

Old timers that lived in hurricane zones before we had the scientific instruments we use today to see where hurricanes are and which way they are heading used to watch the birds for clues about what was to come. When a hurricane starts to get close to shore, the terns, pelicans, cormorants and other marine birds will start to fly inland by the thousands. Even several hours before a hurricane hits a shore, you will have to look hard to find any healthy birds remaining. There have been reports of seagulls flying as far north as Birmingham, AL and thousands in Montgomery, AL.

After a hurricane there is a big decline in oyster harvesting from reefs. The strong water currents either rip the oysters loose or completely cover them with sand and debris. After some hurricanes, the Federal Government has allocated funds for purchasing oysters to re-plant on previously oyster rich reefs.

Shrimp are affected too. The tremendous amount of freshwater rain that falls inland and flows towards the coast changes the salinity of the water in areas where shrimp go through the larval stage. This can kill them. Mature shrimp can be killed or forced way out into the Gulf by the retreating ocean storm surge. That same surge can push saltwater fish way up the rivers. Mullet and even sharks have been reported as far north as Montgomery. The saltwater that is pushed inland can kill the freshwater fish of the rivers or destroy their eggs.

The surge water is salty so it can kill the salt intolerant plants near the coast. Then when the water retreats, it brings with it lots of debris, both human: like paper cups, and natural: vegetation. This decaying inland stuff that is washed out in the Gulf can provide nutrients that cause an algae bloom that depletes the water of oxygen, suffocating the marine life. Then the dying fish add to the problem as they decay. There can be a very bad smell after a hurricane !

All this I learned from Dr. Skip Lazauski's newspaper column. Seems he has Biology Brainstorms !

Interested in a Hurricane Proof House?
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Hurricane Graphics & Digital Photographs

Current Weather Conditions for Mobile, Gulf Shores,
& Baldwin County, Alabama




Hurricane IVAN triva question answer: The Weather Channel was playing 'Cast Your Fate to the Wind' as background music on the local forcast during the day before Hurricane IVAN struck the Gulf Shores area. Somebody there obviously has a sense of humor !!

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Wednesday July 20, 2016

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