1965's Hurricane Betsy upgraded to a Category 4 storm

Rreclassification comes 54 years after the storm’s landfall

December 14, 2019 - 7:32 am
Hurricane Betsy

AP Photo


Fifty-four years after the storm’s landfall on southeast Louisiana, Hurricane Betsy is being upgraded to the Category 4 storm. State Climatologist Barry Keim says the reclassification comes as weather researchers are reanalyzing Atlantic hurricane seasons and are having a better interpretation of historic data.

“The Hurricane Center and the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Lab have been systematically moving their way through the data set.  They started in some of the earlier periods and they are marching their way toward more current periods,” said Keim.

Hurricane Betsy was blamed for about 75 deaths and was the first storm to surpass a billion dollars in US damage.  Keim says the latest report of the reanalysis of 1961 to 1965 also located more storms.

“They also found nine storms in the Atlantic basin during that five-year window of time and most of those storms, of course, are storms that were just out over the ocean that were just not detected,” said Keim.

Keim says the review of historical data is going to help broaden the understanding of storms and hopefully make forecasting better in the future.

“All this data these planes are gathering is enabling us to dig a little bit deeper and have a better understanding of these storms as they are actually making landfall,” said Keim.

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