Strong El Niño could mean mild hurricanes

Published 5:57 pm Tuesday, April 22, 2014

With the 2014 hurricane season just around the corner, there are some encouraging signs that we may find to our liking.

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center is reporting the possibility of a strong El Niño formation beginning in July. If this is the case, the potential for Gulf and Atlantic storms will be greatly diminished. This is also good news for the insurance industry, too.
Each year without storm damage lessons insurance monthly premium increases. This is especially good news for south Baldwin and Mobile counties as premiums are at an all time high.

El Niño simply means warming of western waters and heavier rains for the west coast and unfavorable conditions for storm formations in the Atlantic Ocean. There are always exceptions, such as Hurricane Andrew’s formation occurring during a 1992 weak El Niño year. Far western states like California could certainly use an El Niño right now. Dry weather out there is said to be the worst ever.

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La Niña occurs in an opposite manner, allowing the development of more storms in our area.

You can bet local TV weather people will soon vent hurricane possibilities. Moreover, you can rest assured they will sensationalize the upcoming storm season.

Well, spring is here and visitors are now frequenting the Splinter Hill area to get a closer look at the “Bogs.” Splinter Hill is that community just past the Perdido railroad tracks and McGill-Bryars cemetery . And, the bogs are filled with Pitcher Plants and “Lady Watches.” Why these plants thrive so well in this area is a mystery. Plant enthusiasts, writers and photographers flock here each spring to capture the beauty of it all.

There is also one other area in Perdido where these plants flourish. It is along U.S. Highway 31 from just south of Cemetery Road to the Phillipsville Road. I remember the late Buck Roley successfully harvesting and marketing these plants near his store across from Phillipsville Road. Others have tried transplanting the plants without success. For some strange reason, the plants will not grow and develop when moved from their natural habitats.

Ricky Mason, the son of Autry Lee Mason, provided us with another of his Genealogy Projects. From his “Alabama Ghost Towns,” he told of a mysterious grave south of Atmore. He related that “in 1940 a WPA crew was grading the road at Mule Pen Ford on Beaver Dam Creek when a skeleton was uncovered along with knives, strings of pearls, scissors and old muzzle-loading type rifle. All indications point to all these items being very old. In fact the rifle indicated a 1821 manufacturing date and wood on the rifle had rotted away. Over 300 pearls were found in the grave. The skeleton was believed to be that of a woman.” Mason said the mystery was apparently never unraveled and a graveyard never existed in the area. He said it is officially called, “MYSTERIOUS GRAVE-MURDERED WOMAN?”

In some news from 1954, Bernie Salter and his family moved to Atmore where he became the hospital administrator.

A large 18-wheeler loaded with Spam overturned on Highway 31 near Perdido. It occurred one summer day while I was taking the summer off from college and was on my way to work at WATM. I and a few friends were hired to unload the truck and I had to call Tom Miniard to get off work. We worked all afternoon unloading the goods from the wrecked truck to another 18-wheeler, which was brought in from Mobile. The day was highlighted when the driver brought us loaves of bread, mayonnaise and cold drinks. I never realized Spam sandwiches were so satisfying and filling.

We mourn the loss of two friends this week. Former Escambia Training School football coach George Mosby passed away last Wednesday. The affable, all-so-friendly 90-year-old was a fixture at the swimming pool, where he also worked for a number of years. He was one of the founding members of The Progressive Civic Recreational Club.

Mickey Womble, an attorney and long time friend, passed away in Monroeville. I became friends with him through his professional association with Hugh Rozelle in the 1960s. He was a dedicated and successful attorney in the Monroeville area for many years.

You may notice I am content in boasting Airbus in Mobile. It should not be too long before we hear of supply houses and “off-shoot” factories being located in satellite areas. Hopefully we can land one of these projects. I know for a fact that Atmore Mayor Jim Staff and all related officials are presently hard at work trying to bring a plant to our industrial park. You can look forward to some very good jobs when this materializes.

You can email Lowell McGill at