Hurricane Elena was an Atlantic hurricane that produced heavy damage along the Gulf Coast of the United States in August and September of the 1985 Atlantic hurricane season. The fifth tropical storm, fourth hurricane, and first major hurricane of the season, Elena developed near Cuba from a tropical wave. It quickly strengthened, reaching peak winds of 125 mph (200 km/h) after stalling in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Elena turned to the west-northwest, and ultimately made landfall near Biloxi, Mississippi as a Category 3 hurricane. The storm quickly dissipated over land.
Elena's unusual path through the Gulf of Mexico, which included a loop, prompted many to evacuate from the coastline. Due to its powerful winds, Elena caused $2.7 billion in damage (2005 USD), primarily in property damage. The hurricane caused extensive beach erosion in Florida, while powerful waves damaged the oyster crop. Hurricane Elena was responsible for no direct deaths, though four people were indirectly killed due to the storm.
Wind damage was most severe along coastal and bayfront regions where wind fetch was long and unobstructed. Towns on the east side of the eye wall had the most intense damage from wind. These areas include Dauphin Island, AL, and the area between Pascagoula and Ocean Springs, MS. Wind speed/damage correlation revealed that maximum wind speeds in these areas were most likely between 100 and 120 mph. Residences generally had roof damage, roof loss to exterior wall loss. Several mobile homes, even with frame anchors, had rolled or disintegrated. Several shopping centers along Route 90 in Pascagoula had masonry wall failures and roofs collapsed.
Wind damage decreased rapidly away from the coastal areas. Minor wind damage such as loss of roof shingles, cladding and tree impact damage occurred west and north of Pass Christian, MI and east and north of Gulf Shores, AL. Wind speed/ damage correlation revealed maximum wind speeds were less than 100 mph along coastal areas and less than 80 mph inland.