The Nelson County Heritage Center filled Sunday with individuals eager to hear two presentations on the weather phenomenon that caused the worst natural disaster in Nelson County history.

On May 19, the Nelson County Historical Society hosted its third program of the Commemorating Camille Series. The program, the “Causes and Geological Consequences of Hurricane Camille,” was presented by Jeff Halverson, of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Anne Carter Witt, a geo-hazards specialist with the Virginia Division of Geology and Mineral Resources, presented a talk titled “Landslide Failures During Camille.” Witt discussed the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) imagery to further investigate the landslides in 1969.

“Camille was a different creature. Very, very, very few storms have a trajectory like this,” Halverson told the audience.

Halverson spent 45 minutes discussing his new hypothesis on why so much rain occurred from a storm that most experts at the time predicted to be just casual showers overnight.

Witt showed the audience her department’s use of LiDAR to look at the earth as if there was no foliage and, because LiDAR uses lasers to measure elevation, from that laser imagery can further investigate why such devastating landslides happened in the county during the storm in 1969.

On June 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Rockfish Valley Community Center, Jimmy Fortune, Benny Dodd, and Joey Davis will be in concert performing songs about Hurricane Camille including “The Bypass” and a new song called “Why Did You Leave Me Camille.”

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Erin Conway covers Nelson County. Reach her at (434) 385-5524 or

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