Dry spell for hurricanes is most devastating

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It’s a billion dollar industry. That’s how many dollars go missing when a major hurricane fails to hit populated land areas in our country.

Of course the natural reaction is “thank goodness we have gone through another storm season without a hit.”

Actually the season is not over yet because wind conditions in the Pacific Ocean will continue to blow off the tops of any storms that originate in the Gulf or Atlantic. This is what is known as El Niño.

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But for the last two to three years, all these workers, suppliers and retail firms have suffered financially. Just one storm a year provides abundant livelihoods for them. Now comes word that this “dry spell” for hurricanes is one of the most devastating in many years.

I have a friend in the stump grinding business and he tells me his stump grinding equipment and his work crews are “idling” away. A firm I am familiar with has lost hundreds of adjusters to other occupations simply because there is no work for them. Another friend owns about one 150 FEMA trash-hauling trucks used to haul off heaping loads of downed trees and smashed structures. These trucks, too, are just sitting there and those truck drivers and related workers are very much idle. A large building supply firm in New Orleans tells economists its sales are down 65 percent.

Yes, the storm business is big, big, big. I suppose I can consider myself lucky since my retirement from FEMA related work. I really do not know what I would do now under these non-productive conditions. Back in the 1980s and 1990s I remember working as many as six huge storms a year. Those were non El Niño years, of course.

One hurricane tracking firm, known for its accurate predictions, has gone on record for a storm to hit in November. This firm says El Nino will “let up” and allow late storms to blossom and trek westward and northwestward in waters south of the United States. Please note this is the only firm I can find that is making a prediction like this.

But when you live in an area like us on the Gulf coast we must be wide-awake at all times and on guard for big storms.

All you Fox News watchers may have already detected a riff among some of its highly visible on air TV personalities. And, it’s all because of Donald Trump.

It seems the Republican debate kicked off this riff. The thinly, feisty Megan Kelly led the charge when she treated Trump like a foreigner during the debate. Some of her other elitist commentators like Brent Hume, Charles Krauthammer and ultra liberal Juan Williams joined in. But Tea Party supporters like Shawn Hannity, Ann Coulter and Monica Crowley chimed in with support for Trump.

Now, as you watch all these Fox News talk shows you can easily detect those Fox analysts Trump and non-Trump supporters. It seems each talk show broadcast is bringing this riff out in the open as tempers and cutting remarks are flying more vigorously.

That football game between Alabama and Ole Miss kicked off on a conservative note last Saturday night.

What do I mean by this? Well Nick Saban waited until game time to announce that his starting quarterback would not be Coker. Instead he inserted Bateman, a more conservative type player as his signal caller. In my opinion, he was telling the Mississippi team the Tide would be playing the game “close to the vest.” In other words, Alabama apparently was not going to “open up” its offense. I am not sure this was such a good decision since Mississippi is known as a wide-open offensive minded team.

But it did not take long for Saban to call on Coker to lead the charge. And, he did just that. The Tide lost the game but soon discovered Coker should be the man behind center for the remainder of the season. Not only did Coker make great runs and important passes but he displayed excellent mental skills for a half at least.

By the way don’t you just hate these “late night” games? How many of you played hooky from Sunday School and church the next day? It is especially hard to get to sleep after such a nail biting game.

Auburn Coach Gus Malzahn tells the media that quarterback Jeremy Johnson is “his man”. He further says “we will work with him to eliminate his problems.” And, he may be able to do just this. But, from the surface, it appears there is much work to be done. I do believe that in time the Tigers will correct these mistakes and blossom into a much better football team. The first step in correction will begin this weekend when the War Eagles play host to the Bulldogs from Mississippi State. If they can solve State’s attack they will have perhaps turned it around. The Tiger must also correct problems with their defense.

In some news from 1970, four Atmore drug stores were recognized for successful operations in a town the size of Atmore. They include Escambia Drugs, Green lawn Pharmacy, Reid Drugs and Davidson Drugs.

ECHS football players gaining honors on the gridiron that year were Alan Moore, David Dennis, Earl Miller, Randy Bailey, Issac Holt, Gordon White, Stan Singleton and head coach Harry Hitchcock.

Speaking of ECHS teams, how can we forget that nail biting championship game in 1974 when the Blue Devils defeated Sheffield by the score of 7-6 during north Alabama‘s ice and snow tundra? The weather was so wet and cold that night helicopters were brought in to hover over the frozen field to thaw out the playing area. Clunks of ice clung to overhead power lines causing unsafe conditions for spectators watching the game.

Indeed, it was a night to remember.