Weather influenced by El Nino conditions

Published 10:32 am Thursday, March 11, 2010

By By Lowell McGill
Last week a TV newsman introduced his weathercast rejoicing how March came in like a lamb.
This sensationalized headline caused viewers to believe we could expect some great days ahead. And, who knows he may be totally correct.
It was a pretty nice day during his noon hour telecast. But, he failed to realize the day was not nearly over because that same day at about 6 p.m. we “got blasted” with heavy rains and fierce winds.
Thus March did “come in like a lion.”
I suppose it would be safe to say the weatherman was somewhat premature with his predictions.
You know, old folks believed in “old sayings.” And, if their beliefs are correct March will, indeed, “go out like a lamb.”
Scientifically we really don’t know what the weather holds for the next few weeks. But, I still like to believe some of these old sayings are true.
For the past two years our weather has been influenced by El Nino conditions.
Cases in point were the scarcity of hurricanes last year, the excessive amount of rain throughout the southeast and southwest and heavy snow storms in the east.
Some ask “exactly what is El Nino?”
It is a weather pattern usually situated across the tropical Pacific Ocean usually occurring every five to seven years. Depending on its actual location winds blowing eastward causes tops of hurricanes to diminish, dryer conditions in some states and wetter conditions in other states. This is a very basic description. I am not qualified to get into the scientific answers for the phenomenon, but remember the closer it is located to us the more likely our weather will be affected.
Weather authorities tell us El Nino often causes less hurricanes in summer and fall and more rain in the winter, spring and sometimes summer. And when I say us, I am taking about south Alabama and northwest Florida and a good portion of the southeast.
Understand there is much, much more to El Nino than what I described.
The latest news on El Nino from the NOAA National Climate Prediction Center through April 2010 indicates “above average precipitation for the southern tier of the country with below average precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley and below average temperatures for south-central and southeastern states.”
We will just wait and see if these scientific predictions unfold.
Perhaps some of you older folks rely on those old sayings that you have heard all your life.
What are some of those old sayings?
Squirrels with thicker coats mean cold winters, thunder in February means cold weather in April and an early Easter brings continued cold through April. You know those saying, and probably many more.
I know if I were a farmer I would always refer to a weather Web site before planting crops. There are two weather factors that affect farming. Knowing when excessive rains and dry conditions are coming, in my opinion, are upmost important for raising crops.
Now, let’s continue with news of people, places and event from the year 1970.
The Atmore Airport erected a “Beacon Light” near the end of the landing strip. Airport authorities felt the light was necessary due to an increase in nighttime flying.
The airport also received a grant to expand the runway from 3,850 feet to 5,000 feet. The Alabama Aeronautics Commission granted these funds.
Poarch Creek Chief Calvin McGhee passed away that year. He and attorneys Hugh Rozelle and others were credited with bringing federal recognition to the Creek Indians.
Charlotte Hopkins, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Troy Hopkins, was crowned 1970 “Miss Atmore Little League Queen.”
James Norris, appliance salesman for Alabama Power Company, took top honors in sales and was presented a plaque at the district sales meeting in Birmingham. He also earned several trips abroad for his sales efforts.
James Gulley was recognized for outstanding scholastic achievements during commencement exercises at Faulkner State Junior College.
Four local students, Clint Smith, David Chapman, Mark McKissack and Jim Johnson, were selected to attend “Boys State” at the state convention in Birmingham.
Winston Moseley, Thomaston native, was named headmaster at The Escambia Academy. He was a former principal at Lyeffion High School and had taught at Livingston University and at Baldwin County High School.
Last week, we named the coaches and managers of our Minor League baseball teams. Here now are the names of those dedicated men who directed our Babe Ruth League teams. They were Johnny Coker and Billy McDonald-Martin Automotive; Frank Patrick and Bill McCrory-Greenlawn Pharmacy; Willie Bruce McKenzie-Civitan Club and Weldon Vickery, Johnny Woods and Weber Walters-WATM.
How would you like to do business with the same bank that gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks used recently?
According to George Altman, Sparks received a $500,000 loan to use in his bid in the race for Governor of the State of Alabama. However, according to Altman, a loan that size requires more income and more collateral than Sparks has.
Actually, this is none of my business, and probably there were other factors when considering his loan. But it does appear to be a friendly liberal bank.
It reminds me of those trying periods, years ago when I experienced trying to keep two weekly newspapers afloat. Each time I went into a bank the first thing I heard was “here you are again.”
Thanks goodness those depressing days of having to go to a bank are over. Thank goodness, also to Jim Boone, owner of The Advance and numerous publications, for rescuing me but thanks, mostly to The National Flood Insurance Program for a successful and lucrative 30-year career.
I wouldn’t give anything for all those diversified jobs, careers and friendships dating back to 1952.
Someone asked me a few months ago “how do you write about so many people and so many subjects.”
The answer to that is “been there, done that.”
Finally, pro gambling forces may feel a little bit on the “blue side” today.
An Internet story Monday from Brieitbart stated, “US casinos may have run into a string of bad luck as recession and other factors cut into gambling revenues, even as more states get into the action.”
The story further said gambling revenues have been going down since 2008. Perhaps these pro gambling groups should take a second look before building new casinos. A saturation of casinos in Alabama would surely bring about their downfall.
I bet (no pun intended) those country entertainers who invested in Dothan’s Country Crossing wish now they had invested in pawn shops.
Next week, we will continue in our series of people, places and events from the year 1970.
Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at

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