Mobile, AL: A City Steeped in Hurricane History
The Early Years and the Great Gale of 1822
Mobile, Alabama, experienced its first significant storm in 1822, known as the Great Gale. The hurricane destroyed most of the wooden buildings and shipping industry, causing residents to flee the area. However, in the aftermath, the city began building levees and infrastructure to protect against future hurricanes.
The Hurricane of 1906: The Rise of the Storm Trackers
The storm of 1906 was one of the most destructive hurricanes to hit Mobile, causing massive damage with winds over 100 mph and storm surge flooding much of downtown. After the disaster, meteorologists and scientists began developing new techniques to track and forecast hurricanes, leading to the emergence of the storm tracker profession.
Hurricane Frederic: A Near Miss
Hurricane Frederic came close to hitting Mobile in 1979, but the city was able to evacuate residents and businesses, minimizing damage and loss of life. The storm, one of the strongest on record, caused damage throughout the Gulf Coast, but Mobile’s preparedness measures prevented a greater impact.
The Modern Era: Katrina and Beyond
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast, causing significant damage in Mobile. Since then, the city has invested in preparedness measures, such as strengthening infrastructure and tracking and forecasting methods. In 2020, Hurricane Sally caused widespread damage and flooding, but Mobile successfully weathered the storm.
Preparing for Hurricanes in Mobile
To prepare for hurricanes, stay informed and aware of developing storms, have an emergency kit ready, and know your nearest storm shelter. Follow local regulations and guidelines, including mandatory evacuations and curfews.
Mobile’s long and tumultuous relationship with hurricanes has shaped the city’s development and left a mark on its landscape and people. By continuing to prioritize preparedness, community, and resilience, Mobile can weather any storms that come its way and emerge stronger on the other side.