Frigid weather reminds me of ’93 storm

Published 11:45 am Wednesday, January 8, 2014

That 1993 “No Name Winter Blizzard Snow Storm” brings back a touch of nostalgia with the onset of this winter blast we are having now. The only thing missing is the snow.

If you recall, that storm came through here with a vengeance en route to the nation’s East coast. We were hit with hurricane-like winds, which blew down tree limbs, electric wires, some roofs, fences and trees. Those days without electricity and the loss of hot water brought a great deal of inconvenience. In my yard, alone, a large cedar tree was twisted so much that the entire top was destroyed. Wooden fences blown over were quite common throughout our city and the general area.

The storm slammed into Florida’s west coast with winds near 100 mph. This resulted in widespread flooding along the coast. I received assignments on countless flood claims, which had me working feverishly for three or four months. One of my assignments was for a relative of female newscaster Jane Pauley. I have included two photographs of that storm, depicting damage in Clearwater.

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Off topic, I was in the area where Steve Olin, a pitcher in spring training for the Cleveland Indians baseball team, was killed when his boat struck a dock on a lake not too far from the area where the storm hit. However, the storm had already passed when the accident occurred.

Our area was under cleanup for several days following the blizzard. In fact some here waited for a few months on their contractors to arrive. National TV crews aired reports of damage that occurred here.

Now this current grip of cold weather is bringing havoc to folks in north Alabama and the mid and northeastern United States. You wonder how these folks can tolerate such uncomfortable conditions. Let’s hope this is the last big blast of winter.

As these winter days come and go, one by one the days are getting a little bit longer and we can see two months ahead over the horizon into March, when green grass and leaves will trickle new color to the environment and shove the drab grayness into the background.

Some sad goodbyes occurred in 2013. Trigger, Roy Rogers’ famous horse, which was in a taxidermist state, was sold and removed from its Branson home. The death of Frank Thornton, better known as “Captain Peacock,” left only Nicholas Smith (Mr. Rumbold) as the sole surviving member of the popular British sitcom, “Are You Being Served.” All the other cast members are gone. This includes Mr. Lucas, Mrs. Slocomb, Mr. Granger, Miss Brahms and Mr. Mash. And, remember those “little people” in the movie The Wizard of Oz? Well, only two of those Munchkins are living today, after the passing of Margaret Pellegrin, who was popularly featured in that movie.

“Cowboy” Jack Clement passed away last year. He was affiliated with Sun records in Memphis and helped spring the careers of Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. He made a trip through Atmore promoting Cash in 1955, stopping at WATM, where he was interviewed by Tom Miniard.

Michael Ansara passed away last year. He can be remembered as the Klingon leader Kang on “Star Trek,” and as the Indian chief in the movie Broken Arrow. He was also the former husband of “I Dream of Jeannie” star Barbara Eden. Cory Monteith, a popular star on “Glee,” also died in 2013.

Finally, let’s give a ton of thanks to the Auburn Tigers for their valiant effort against Florida State in the BCS championship game Monday night. For three and a half quarters the Tigers had the game under control, but two late fourth quarter mistakes caused their undoing.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of here. Moreover, their efforts foreshadowed great things to come for this team next year. It was especially rewarding to watch Auburn’s relenting defense to keep the Florida State quarterback in a state of confusion for much of the game.

And, what about that crowd of faithful followers who made that long journey to cheer their team on. Let’s hope next year the SEC can come out victoriously once again.

Next week I will have more news from days gone by.

You can email Lowell McGill at