Greetings sports fans and welcome to another exceptional adventure in journalism I like to call Vegas Valley Sports Beat. Proudly scanning the snow globe to bring you a constant variety in sports including the thrill of victory and the agony of the feet. It is another picture-perfect afternoon here in the Las Vegas Valley region (looking out the window) yep, it sure is. It’s another hot day too but take heart and sing songs of good cheer because it is the first day of September and Autumn is only 21 days away. Winter draws near.
At the time of this going to press the people in the Bahamas are being hammered by the worst hurricane since records have been kept by mankind. Hurricane Dorian has strengthened into a massive category 5 storm that is now making it way slowly across the islands bringing heavy rain, flooding, wind gusts of over 200 mph and sustained winds of 185 mph have also been reported. Our prayers must be with them because only a miracle will keep the losses to life at zero and to property below catastrophic levels.
If you live in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Lousiana, or Texas keep in mind while you pray for them that there but for the grace of God go I because only the grace of God will keep this monster storm from coming to your house. If you think it is going to hit someone else you might just be inviting disaster over because storm trackers for all their BS and blustering have no idea whatsoever what any hurricane might decide to do or where it is going until it actually gets there. Be prepared.
Case in point: Hurrican Elena which menaced the entire Gulf Coast on a similar Labor Day weekend in 1985. Elena was 200 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River when without warning it made an abrupt right turn and headed East towards Tampa Bay. I know because I was there. For two days hurricane, Elena a category 2 storm bore down on the hapless inhabitants of Florida’s Gulf coast from Homestead to Tallahassee. Residents of Tampa and St. Petersburg across the Bay in Pinellas County were evacuated and many spent 2 nights in emergency shelters. My wife and I rode it out in our second-story apartment in Pinellas Park.
To say that the weather was nasty all weekend is an understatement.
Everybody in Mississippi and Lousiana was surely breathing a lot easier and no doubt some people had to be thinking, “Poor bastards, but, better them than us.” Perhaps that is why it then stalled suddenly just 50 miles off of Cedar Key and just sat out there spinning around and around before Elena suddenly seemed to make up her mind and turned back to the west again on September 1st. Finally making landfall in Biloxi, Mississippi on Labor Day as a category 3 Hurricane.
In the meantime, Elena was so unpredictable that she had people’s lives in an uproar from Sarasota, Florida to Grand Island, Louisianna all weekend long. 1.5 million people in her wandering pathway people had to evacuate, and some of them had to evacuate twice before the rain, wind, and waves subsided again and people began to pick up the pieces.
As hurricane’s go, Elena was relatively small in that she caused $125,000,000 in damages and claimed four lives. Small potatoes indeed compared to Andrew or Katrina but the lesson to be learned is obvious. Even a small hurricane is predictably deadly and unpredictable at best.
Hurricane Dorian could just as easily hit Maine as it can go the other way and hit Texas or it could very well glance off of the West coast of Florida and expend its fearsome energy in the cold waters of the North Atlantic. Packing as it already is winds in excess of 200 mph it will no doubt clear out a vast number of mobile homes, travel trailers, and other lightweight domiciles if it does make landfall in the United States. Therefore I urge you if you are in its path to please be fully aware of any changes in the course of the storm as it continues northward. Be prepared to ride it out or to get out of its way should Dorian find your house and please remember those who are in its grip, in your thoughts and/or prayers as it devastates theirs. Follow the storm’s path here: http://go.usa.gov/xVWkT