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Hurricane Eloise was the fourth hurricane and second major hurricane of the 1975 Atlantic hurricane season. It made landfall along the Florida panhandle west of Panama City before moving inland across Alabama. It caused $560 million in damage. Reporter John Keffer takes you back to September 1975, as the Gulf Coast prepared for Eloise to make landfall.
Inside the “FOX10 News Vault”: September 1975
"By eight o'clock tonight over 400 people from throughout South Mobile County had gathered here at Theodore High School to weather out Hurricane Eloise. As wind gusts picked up and the rain came harder and more families began to realize there really is a hurricane coming and started pouring into Theodore High School. Theodore High is one of the most highly populated evacuation centers, causing evacuees from Dauphin Island, Coden, Bayou La Batre and elsewhere. Many of the residents have been through hurricanes before and decided a shelter was the best idea.
Reporter: Have you ridden them through before? Is this your first time coming to a center like this?
Evacuee: This is about the third time, maybe the fourth. Third or fourth time.
Reporter: You figured it's better to come here than ride it out, huh?
Evacuee: It's better in the long run, It's more safe. It's more sensible.
Evacuee: We always come out of Coden down there. Coden, Alabama, it's bad down there.. too close to the water. I always come up to Theodore School.
Some of the evacuees are not residents of Mobile County but have been caught here by Eloise such as one man from Tennessee.
Reporter: What do you think about these hurricanes?
Evacuee: Well, I don't know but I don't dread them like I do those tornadoes. Cause I can always get out of the way of a hurricane. But a tornado, it's liable to jump out of a thunder cloud anywhere.
Most of the evacuees appear to be veterans at this, with some calmly playing cards, and others singing through it all.
Earlier today, Sheriff Deputies and Red Cross volunteer workers began stocking various shelters with helpers and supplies. Enough hopefully to last as Eloise might take to make her way through. John Keffer, Channel 10 News Beat."
Hurricane Eloise eventually made landfall west of Panama City on September 24th, 1975. The storm killed 80 people along its entire track through Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. The name "Eloise" was retired from the Atlantic Tropical Cyclone naming lists.
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