Hurricane Audrey

Compiled by:
Donovan Landreneau, Forecaster
Sam Shamburger, Forecaster

 

Just about everyone who lives in or grew up across Southern Louisiana and Southeast Texas knows the story of Hurricane Audrey, whether it was stories their parents or grandparents passed on, or literature they read within the history books.  To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the deadliest natural disaster in the history of Southwest Louisiana, the City of Cameron and Cameron Parish government hosted a memorial service on June 27th, 2007, dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Audrey. The National Weather Service participated in this event with an informative booth highlighting various meteorological data from Hurricane Audrey.

During the early morning hours of June 27, 1957, an early season hurricane named Audrey roared ashore into Southwest Louisiana and Southeastern Texas. Audrey spread a massive storm surge across most of Cameron parish, and across the southern halves of Vermilion, Iberia, and St. Mary parishes, causing total devastation in property and many lives lost. Figure 1 displays the areas inundated with selected high water mark levels. Figure 2 illustrates a post storm SLOSH (Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes) model of Audrey's passage, with an animation available in 15 minute increments.

Hurricane Audrey ranks as the 7th deadliest hurricane to strike the United States (2nd deadliest within Louisiana) in modern record keeping, with at least 500 deaths. The exact number will never be known, as many perished in the storm surge in Cameron and Vermilion parishes, and many missing persons were never found.

Hurricane Audrey is also noted as being the strongest June hurricane to make landfall within the United States, and one of only two major hurricanes to make landfall in the month of June. The other major hurricane affected Louisiana across St. Mary and Terrebonne parishes on June 16, 1934.

Figure 3 illustrates a rare radar mosaic of Audrey consisting of MPS-7 23-cm weather radars from Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, England Air Force Base in Alexandria, Louisiana, and Houma, Louisiana. An animation of this radar mosaic is available in hourly increments.

Table 1 lists a summary of highest sustained and peak winds, as well as lowest pressure for Hurricane Audrey across Louisiana and Southeast Texas. Notice the unusually high gusts recorded at Lafayette (86 mph) & Baton Rouge (69 mph), some 70 to 120 miles east of the eye.  Since Audrey made land fall during the day, the atmosphere was more unstable, thus allowing the convective rain bands to transfer the much higher winds aloft to the surface. Figure 4 shows an estimation of highest wind gust contours across Louisiana and Southeast Texas.

Many have compared the impacts of Hurricane Audrey with Hurricane Rita.  Click here to see a meteorological comparison of these two historic hurricanes.

AudreyStormSurgeInundationMap


Figure 1. Map of Hurricane Audrey's storm surge inundation across Southern Louisiana and Southeast Texas. Click here for a high resolution version of this map.

AudreySLOSH-EOHW


Figure 2. SLOSH Model of Hurricane Audrey's storm surge inundation across Southern Louisiana and Southeast Texas. Click here for an animation. 

AudreyRadar

 

 

 Figure 3. Mosaic of MPS-7 23-cm weather radars from Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, England Air Force Base in Alexandria, Louisiana, and Houma, Louisiana on June 27, 1957 at  1 PM CST. Even several hours after landfall, Audrey's eye is still intact over Beauregard Parish, some 60 miles inland. Click here for an hourly animation. (Imagery courtesy of Texas A&M).


Table 1 - Summary of minimum pressures and highest winds recorded across Louisiana and Southeast Texas (official reports):

Location Minimum Sea Level Pressure Maximum Sustained Wind (1 min. avg.) Peak Wind Gust
Lake Charles, LA (NWS) 28.69" / 971.4 mb
@ 11:47 AM CST
75 mph / 65 knots
@ 10:30 AM CST
97 mph / 84 knots
@ 9:30 AM CST
Port Arthur, TX (NWS) 28.67" / 970.9 mb
@ 10:33 AM CST
72 mph / 63 knots
@ 10:36 AM CST
85 mph / 74 knots
@ 10:33 AM CST
Lafayette, LA (Airport) 29.34" / 993.6 mb
@ 10:30 AM CST
58 mph / 50 knots
@ 2:58 PM CST
86 mph / 75 knots
@ 2:17 PM CST
Alexandria, LA (England AFB) 29.00" / 982.1 mb
@ 3:58 PM CST
48 mph / 42 knots
@ 1:57 PM CST
64 mph / 56 knots
@ 2:58 PM CST
Galveston, TX (NWS) 29.13" / 986.5 mb
@ 5:58 AM CST
58 mph / 50 knots
@ 4:20 AM CST
76 mph / 66 knots
@ 4:15 AM CST
Baton Rouge, LA (NWS) 29.54" / 1000.3 mb
@ 12:58 PM &
2:58 PM CST
40 mph / 35 knots
@ 11:25 AM
through 1:44 PM CST
69 mph / 60 knots
@ 1:37 PM CST
New Orleans, LA (NWS) 29.65" / 1004.2 mb
@ 4:55 PM CST
35 mph / 30 knots
@ 1:30 PM CST
53 mph / 46 knots
@ 10:30 AM CST
Burrwood, LA (NWS) 29.74" / 1007.1 mb
@ 3:50 AM CST
40 mph / 35 knots
@ 3:50 AM CST
52 mph / 45 knots
@ 3:50 AM CST
Lufkin, TX (Airport) 29.34" / 993.6 mb
@ 12:58 PM through
1:58 PM CST
20 mph / 17 knots
@ 7:38 AM CST
32 mph / 28 knots
@ 8:58 AM CST
Shreveport, LA (NWS) 29.28" / 991.3 mb
@ 4:55 PM CST
30 mph / 26 knots
@ 1:59 PM &
3:57 PM CST
51 mph / 44 knots
@ 4:16 PM CST
Bossier City, LA (Barksdale AFB) 29.27" / 991.1 mb
@ 4:58 PM through
5:57 PM CST
28 mph / 24 knots
@ 3:05 PM CST
36 mph / 31 knots
@ 4:40 PM CST
Monroe, LA (Airport) 29.07" / 984.4 mb
@ 9:00 PM CST
35 mph / 30 knots
@ 5:20 PM &
7:00 PM CST
63 mph / 55 knots
@ 5:20 PM CST
Additional unofficial reports: 
Sulphur, LA City Services reported wind gust of 105 mph at 9:40 AM CST.
Sulphur, LA City Police reported light wind (eye) at 11:05 AM CST.
Westlake, LA public call reported light wind (eye) at 11:05 AM CST.
Orange, TX (Sabine River Authority) reported peak wind gusts of around 100 mph (eyewall).
Orange, TX (Sabine River Authority) later reported calm winds (eye).
Sabine Pass, TX reported sustained winds of 85 mph gusting to 100 mph (eyewall).
Morgan City, LA reported peak sustained winds of around 50 mph.
Cameron, LA reported a minimum pressure of 959 mb (28.32" of Hg).

Figure 4 - Hurricane Audrey estimated maximum wind gusts map (click image for larger map) Wind map estimated based on surface observations.

Audrey Wind Gust Map




Table 2 - Storm total rainfall recorded from June 26-28, 1957 across Louisiana and Southeast Texas.

Location June 26th June 27th June 28th Storm Total
Lake Charles, LA (NWS) 0.22" 7.35" 0.00" 7.57"
Port Arthur, TX (NWS) 0.14" 6.76" 0.00" 6.90"
Lafayette, LA (Airport) 0.00" 3.69" 0.00" 3.69"
Alexandria, LA (England AFB) 0.18" 3.52" 0.00" 3.70"
Galveston, TX (NWS) 0.84" 1.01" 0.00" 1.85"
Baton Rouge, LA (NWS) 0.00" 1.49" 0.02" 1.51"
New Orleans, LA (NWS) Trace 0.14" 0.01" 0.15"
Burrwood, LA (NWS) 1.73" Trace 0.00" 1.73"
Lufkin, TX (Airport) 0.00" 0.27" 0.00" 0.27"
Shreveport, LA (NWS) 0.00" 0.45" 0.00" 0.45"
Bossier City, LA (Barksdale AFB) 0.00" 0.38" 0.00" 0.38"
Monroe, LA (Airport) 0.00" 2.84" 0.01" 2.85"

 

 

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