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Editorial: A deadly lesson

If anyone doubts the power and fury of Mother Nature, consider this week’s 50th anniversary of Hurricane Camille—the deadliest natural disaster in Virginia history.

On the evening of Aug. 19, 1969, Camille was no longer a hurricane when it came barreling through the commonwealth. Because it was expected to quickly dissipate over land, few were prepared for the tremendous amount of water it still carried and the devastation it would inflict on Central Virginia.

When it finally made its way back out to the Atlantic, the massive inland flooding and mudslides caused by Camille left more than 150 dead in Virginia. Camille dropped the equivalent of six months’ rain—27 inches—on Nelson County in just one night. More than 100 bridges, roadways and railways had been washed away or damaged and over 900 structures were either damaged or destroyed.

The Middle Peninsula fortunately was spared from the destruction of this terrible storm. Gloucester and Mathews reside...

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