MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Hurricane Frederic was one of the strongest storms to hit the Alabama Gulf Coast, according to the National Weather Service. Frederic hit on Sept. 12, 1979, near the Bayou La Batre area.

Hurricane Frederic Facts

Hurricane Frederic formed on Aug. 29, 1979, as a tropical depression in the eastern Atlantic sea. On Sept. 10, Frederic is named a hurricane and was in the Gulf of Mexico.

At 5 a.m. on Sept. 12, the National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning from Panama City, Fla. to Grande Isle, La. Frederic strengthened to 130 mph winds and a central pressure of 28.05 inches of mercury. Meteorologists expected Frederic to cause a storm surge of 10 to 15 feet above normal.

At 11 a.m., Frederic was sitting 175 south of Pensacola, Fla. and moved northwest at 12-15 mph. The hurricane eye was thought to be around 10 miles. Evacuations along the Gulf Coast were happening at this time.

As Frederic approached the Alabama coast, the storm started to deteriorate. At this time, the eye of the storm was measured at 50 miles east to west and 40 miles north to south. Some weather forecasters said Frederic had the largest storm center they had ever recorded.

At around 10 p.m., the north part of the eye moved onto Dauphin Island, Ala. Once Frederic made landfall, the eye decreased to 15 miles in diameter. A wind gust recorder at the Dauphin Island Bridge recorded the highest wind gust at 145 mph. Frederic was a Category 4 hurricane when it made landfall.

At 2 a.m. on Sept. 13, NWS reported that the center of Fredric passed west of Mobile. Frederic did not lose intensity until it reached Meridian, Miss. at about 7 a.m.

Hurricane Frederic Impacts

Hurricane Frederic caused a lot of damage along the Gulf Coast. The National Weather Service reported the damage cost was around $2.3 billion. Five people died because of the hurricane.

The storm surge reached 12-15 feet on the beaches and 8-10 feet in northern Mobile Bay. This storm surge destroyed many buildings along the coast. Damage was spread across 80 miles.

A lot of the damage was due to fallen trees, which left thousands without power and roads being blocked for several days. The NWS reported some residents of Mobile went without power for 5 weeks.

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