Hurricane Inez batters Caribbean

Hurricane Inez slams into the islands of the Caribbean, killing hundreds of people, on this day in 1966. The storm left death and destruction in its wake from Guadeloupe to Mexico over the course of its nearly three-week run. Inez was the most destructive hurricane of the 1966 storm season.

On September 24, Inez was a Category 2 hurricane when it crashed into the island of Guadeloupe. The torrential rains accompanying the storm caused mudslides and floods all over the island. Twenty-three people lost their lives, and the survivors were faced with the near-total loss of the island’s banana crop.

By September 28, Inez had strengthened and hit the island of Hispaniola with 140-mile-per-hour sustained winds. In the Dominican Republic, the towns of Duverge and Oriedo were totally destroyed; only the town halls in each village were spared. In Haiti, many people lost their lives in flash floods in the mountains that literally washed away the victims.

Two days later, Inez spawned a series of tornadoes in the Bahamas. Fortunately, only one person died from the twisters. The hurricane was still a Category 3 storm when it struck the Florida Keys. Highway 1, running from the Florida mainland to Key West, was completely submerged at several points. Five people died in Florida, including one surfer who did not heed warnings to stay away from the beach.

Inez moved through the Gulf of Mexico over the next week, hitting Tampico on October 10. It finally dissipated the next day. Overall, the storm caused 293 deaths and $40 million in damages.

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