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Morgan City Hurricanes

Morgan City Hurricanes

January 28, 2020 Local Interest 0 Comments

“Morgan City Hurricanes” sounds like a sports team moniker, but this post pertains to the storms that have devastated St. Mary Parish over the years. No one likes to make the news as the target for hurricanes, but for resilient Louisianans, it’s a fact of life. Our area is affected by tropical storm winds and rainfall every 2.5 years, directly hit for a few hours every 8 years, and struck by a major hurricane every 24.5 years. Some of us are still recovering from the most recent landfall in 2019. Continue reading to learn about the three most significant hurricanes to pass through Morgan City, Louisiana.

Hurricane Juan (October 28, 1985)

Hurricane Juan formed in the central Gulf of Mexico and looped offshore twice. By the time Juan made landfall in Morgan City, peak winds had reached 85 mph. The storm was noted for its erratic movements and tremendous amount of rainfall– over 12 inches at a time– which caused flooding in 42 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes. Texas, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi were also affected.

People who remember this event recall the mass exodus of more than 2,000 state residents from their homes, including the evacuation of shelters. All told, Juan was responsible for 12 deaths and $1.5 billion in damage.

Hurricane Andrew (August 26, 1992)

Category 5 Hurricane Andrew holds the distinction as the second-most destructive hurricane in U.S. history. After crossing Florida and circling the Gulf of Mexico, it reached Louisiana as a category 3 storm, 20 miles southwest of Morgan City. Maximum winds up to 115 mph caused significant damage to houses in Morgan City, Berwick, and Patterson– $150 million worth in St. Mary Parish alone.

We were fortunate to avoid the full force of the storm, which reached sustained winds of 175 mph and damage totaling $27.3 billion spanning Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, and the Bahamas. More than 2,000 Louisiana residents evacuated their homes to the safety of two municipal shelters. Residents remember the heroism of rescuers who risked it all to save the young, the elderly, and the trapped. Sixty-five people died in the storm overall, but none in our neighborhoods, thanks to the organized evacuation efforts.

Hurricane Barry (July 13, 2019)

Category 1 Hurricane Barry moved through Morgan City like a freight train, raising the Atchafalaya River to levels few had seen before. Electricity was knocked out for a third of all residents, roofs blew off, large debris blew off the highway, and trees toppled. Even though Barry reached sustained winds of 75 mph, it didn’t stop one couple from marrying during the tropical storm; the optimists viewed the hurricane wind and rain as “a sign of good luck” and a “family tradition” of sorts, as the bride’s grandparents, too, tied the knot during a hurricane nearly 70 years prior.

A local coffee shop served $1,000 worth of donuts and made 23 pots of coffee during the storm. These stories are a true testament to the grit and determination of Morgan City residents. Though there was only one fatality, the storm caused $600 million in damage from the Florida panhandle to the upper Texas coast.

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