Catastrophe in the Making: Mining for Uranium Could Begin on the East Coast
By Tara Lohan
December 6, 2012 |

We know many of our tragedies by name; in recent years we have met Andrew, Katrina, Ike, Irene, and most recently, Sandy. They defied our expectations — the lost lives, ruined homes, ransacked communities. There is little comfort looking forward. We’re told to expect more storms, and worse ones. It’s hard to imagine how bad things could get, but then, not everyone has to imagine. Some people may remember Camille.

Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi Gulf coast on Aug. 17,1969, thrashing communities with a tidal storm surge nearly three stories high and winds of up to 200 miles an hour. Or so experts think — it’s hard to say, since the storm destroyed all of the wind recording instruments in the region. When the storm had moved on, many homes were underwater or on fire, and 143 people in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana were dead. But Camille wasn’t done.

As the storm moved north, it grew weaker until August 19, when what was left of Camille collided with another system of wet air by the Blue Ridge Mountains. The result was a storm of immense magnitude that took rural Nelson County, Virginia, completely by surprise. Stefan Bechtel explains in his book Roar of the Heavens, small communities in the mountains of central Virginia were inundated with “one of the heaviest rainfalls ever recorded on earth” — in some areas an estimated 31 inches of rain fell in less than eight hours.

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