Looking back at Hurricane Florence, Sept. 26, 1953

Dear Tom,
My dad has often talked about a hurricane that caused some damage while he was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., around 1953-55. Can you verify or give any details of a hurricane or storm during this time?
— Pam Morris, Downers Grove
Dear Pam,
The storm was Hurricane Florence that made U.S. landfall on the Florida Panhandle between Fort Walton Beach and Panama City Beach as a Category 1 storm with 80 mph winds on Sept. 26, 1953. At peak strength, Florence was a major hurricane packing 125 mph winds after crossing the Yucatan Channel, but the storm weakened before landfall as it encountered cooler water in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Heavy rain and attendant flooding were the main impacts in the Fort Benning area, where rainfall totaled 5 to 7 inches as the storm quickly weakened to an extratropical low pressure center shortly after landfall.