Flashback Friday: Hurricane Betsy 50 years ago


Street flooding in Key West/Florida Keys Public libraries

In 1965 this past week, southern Florida was ravaged by Hurricane Betsy’s landfall. The Category 3 storm did a number on south Florida.

Here is a look back at the storm from Wikipedia:


Beginning on September 7, intermittent squalls associated with Betsy’s outer rainbands began affecting the coast, producing gusts in excess of 60 mph (97 km/h).[64] One of these squalls toppled trees and damaged awnings in Stuart.[73] Early the following day, Betsy made landfall on the southeastern Florida coast near Key Largo with a strength equivalent to that of a Category 3 hurricane.[4][20] Intense winds were felt across the region, with the highest officially wind speed clocked at 125 mph (201 km/h) in Big Pine Key; the same station also recorded the strongest gust documented while Betsy was over southern Florida at 165 mph (266 km/h). The lowest barometric pressure recorded was 952 mbar (hPa; 28.12 inHg) at a station in Tavernier while it was within the eye of the storm.[1][74]

The strong winds knocked down utility poles, causing widespread power outage and a telecommunications blackout.[75] At one point, an estimated 25,000 telephones were knocked out of service, with half of the central telephone exchange operating on emergency backup power.[73] Some transformers that were blown down sparked localized fires.[75] One person was killed after being electrocuted by a fallen power line.[76] The blackouts cut electric service to 80 percent of customers in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas. House trailers were smashed by flying debris in the same areas. Several roads were blocked by debris thrown by the wind. U.S. Highway 1 in Florida was cut off by fallen telephone poles, preventing land access from the mainland to the Florida Keys. Similarly, numerous portions of the Tamiami Trail were blocked by fallen trees.[77] A person was killed after a prostrated tree fell, crushing the individual.[78] At the Miami International Airport, two twin-engine cargo craft were blown off the airport’s perimeter.[73] Heavy agricultural losses resulted from the strong winds as well. Approximately 25 to 50 percent of Florida’s citrus crop was damaged after being blown down by strong winds. In addition, 90 percent of Dade and Broward counties’ avocado crop,[1] valued at $2 million, was destroyed

Besty  reemerged as a strong storm in the Gulf of Mexico and struck Louisiana taking a similar path to Hurricane Andrew. would be the last major storm to hit south Florida directly until Andrew in 1992.  Inez in 1966 and David in 1979 were category one storms that had devastated parts of the Caribbean but wear weak by the time they interacted with southern Florida.


Hurricane Betsy Key West Street Flooding” by Florida Keys Public Libraries; – http://www.flickr.com/photos/keyslibraries/2846421152/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.


  1. Is Besty a male name, female name, or an adjective?


  2. […] week in 1975, Hurricane Eloise became the first Major Hurricane to strike Florida since Hurricane Betsy in 1965. The storm made landfall around Panama City as a Category 3 […]


  3. […] 1975, Hurricane Eloise became the first Major Hurricane to strike Florida since Hurricane Betsy in 1965. The storm made landfall near the Bay County/Walton County line as a Category 3 storm. It made […]


%d bloggers like this: