This is an article about a storm that affected Texas, Louisiana, South Central USA, the Gulf of Mexico and Canada in 1957.
Hurricane Audrey was the first main hurricane in the 1957 Atlantic hurricane season. In June it was the first to reach Category 4 status. As a powerful hurricane, Audrey caused catastrophic damage through eastern Texas and western Louisiana. Then it affected the South Central USA as a powerful extratopical storm. Near the Gulf coats was where the heaviest rainfall directly from Audrey fell. Heavy rainfall in the Midwest was caused by the moisture flowing towards a weather front in the north. Hurricane Audrey caused $1 billion (2005 USD) in damage and left 431 people dead. At the time, the damage caused was the worst since the Great New England Hurricane of 1938.
On June 25 a tropical wave moved across the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea where it became a tropical depression. In the Gulf of Mexico, the depression stalled and it showed signs of fast intensification. It became Hurricane Audrey at 1800 UTC. The storm was centered 380 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas and by June 26 as it moved northeastward at 5 mph, it was already at Category 2 strength. The forward motion of the storm increased to 15 mph as it carried on its north-northeasterly track. It then acquired its peak maximum sustained winds of 145 mph and an approximated pressure of 946 millibars before it made landfall close to the Texas Louisiana border on June 27. As it moved over inland Louisiana, Audrey quickly weakened to a tropical storm. As it crossed over Tennessee, it then changed into a powerful extratopical storm. The extratopical remnants of Hurricane Audrey connected with another low over the Ohio Valley. As it moved across southeastern Canada, the extratropical storm then reached a low barometric pressure of 974 millibars and by June 29, was unidentifiable. It is not known how strong the hurricane really was. Some of the victims of Hurricane Audrey told reporters that the winds were of Category 5 hurricane intensity. The victims of the hurricane had no warning. They had been told that the storm would make landfall in 4 days but it picked up speed and that night he very powerful hurricane hit instead.
Hurricane Audrey caused $147 million (1957 UDS) in damage and at least 416 deaths in the US, most in western Louisiana and eastern Texas. Since accurate record-keeping started in 1900, Audrey is the sixth deadliest hurricane to hit the United States mainland. No hurricane after caused as many deaths in the USA until Katrina in 2005. The name Audrey was retired soon after the storm and it shall not be used to name a hurricane again. This means that it was the only use of the name Audrey for the Atlantic Basin.
Gulf of Mexico
A mobile drilling rig sank an four tenders suffered damage when they were pulled loose from their mooring and ran aground. The damage from all offshore oil facilities came to US$16 million (1957 dollars).
Texas and Louisiana
Several weather stations in eastern Texas reported winds up to 75 mph before communications died. A weather station in Orange, Texas later reported sustained wind speed of 100 mph. It was also reported that there was a storm surge of 7 feet. The eye of Audrey made landfall south of Sabine Lake, it then traversed the lake and passed over Bridge City, Texas. A barometric pressure of 966 hectopascals was recorded in Port Arthur, Texas a recording of 971 hectopascals was made in Beaumont, Texas. Eastern Texas was in the weaker side of the storm and therefore only received moderate damage. There was damage to power lines and tress in Port Arthur and parts of Highway 87 were damaged. Nine people drowned offshore when their boat sank in the storm. Waves as high as 10 feet were reported in Cameron, Louisiana. A storm tide of 7 feet was recorded in Lake Charles and in other locations surges of up to 12 feet were reported. In Hackberry a 958 hectopascals pressure reading was recorded. Sustained winds of 105 mph were recorded in the city of Sulphur. Th damage in Louisiana was catastrophic with 60-80 percent of the homes and businesses from Cameron to Grand Chenirer being destroyed or damaged severely.
The damage from the storm surge extended for 25 miles, As the storm made landfall, two tornadoes were reported. One was near New Orleans and the other near to Arnaudville. More than 300 people were killed in Louisiana and 40,000 were left homeless.
Rest of the USA and Canada
Hurricane Audrey spawned 23 tornadoes as it moved inland. In Mississippi and Alabama two people tornadoes killed and 14 others injured by the tornadoes. $600,000 (1957 USD) in damages was caused. In the Midwest, the flow of moisture from Audrey combined with a weather front to its north and this caused a predecessor rainfall event that saw a swath of 5 inches to 11 inches of rain from central Missouri wast-northeast across central Illinois and central Indiana. In Paris, Illinois, 10.20 inches of rain fell and this led to a monthly precipitation record for June of 17.65 inches and also the wettest year on record there with a total of 61.59 inches. The entire town was flooded. Huge amounts of rain which caused significant flooding was dropped by the storm and this caused 10 deaths. The storm created sustained winds of 65 mph in Pennsylvania and in New York, winds of 95-100 mph were reported. Winds of up to 80 mph were reported in Canada and there were 15 deaths.
Records and Strength
Audrey is the earliest storm of any Atlantic hurricane season to get to Category 4 intensity in the recorded history of the basin. It reached Category 4 strength on June 27. At the time, Audrey was the strongest storm to have formed before August. This record was held for almost fifty years before it was broke in 2005 by Hurricane Dennis. Hurricane Audrey has remained the strongest storm to form in June.
Hurricane Audrey’s strength was disputed during its meteorological history. Several calculations have suggested that the pressure in the storm dropped to 938 millibars but others have it at 940 millibars. The peak wind speed of the storm varied from 140 mph to 150 mph. An oil rig offshore claimed that it recorded a reading of 925 millibars and a wind speed of 180 mph. This is disputed by authorities however.