BY RAY VAN COR
The Greenville Standard
Not referring to a line in the little Richard song, but Tropical Storm Claudette put a little damper on Father’s Day and festivals around the area to include the Blueberry Festival that was to be held this past Saturday in Brewton.
The festival was cancelled officially Thursday due to the coming weather. A very good decision on the festival officials part because Tropical Storm Claudette spawned a possible tornado that demolished and badly damaged 50 homes in East Brewton and ripped part of the roof off W.S. Neal’s High School, while also destroying a mobile home park.
Radar detected the possible tornado around 7:30 a.m. and emergency management officials said three people were injured.
The storm also brought heavy rain and flooding to south Alabama and other parts of the Gulf Coast. Claudette formed Saturday morning about 45 miles southwest of New Orleans and had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.
It moved north-northeast Saturday morning at 12 mph. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced heavy rainfall and flooding and it was suppose to weaken into a depression by Saturday night.
Despite the forecasters at the hurricane center stating the storm was expected to dump anywhere from 5 – 10 inches of rain, even 15 inches in isolated areas, with warnings extended from Morgan City, La., to the Okaloosa-Walton County line in Florida, it did not seem to effect tourist at the beach.
Even with Tropical Storm Claudette in full swing, a recent rise in COVID cases and restrictions, traffic filled Interstate 65, and Alabama State Highway 55 south bound lanes with out-of-state tags, RV’s and campers, both service stations at Georgiana’s exit 114 were filled with tourists headed to the beach.
Mexico faced Tropical Storm Dolores in the Pacific. It formed Friday with landfall and it was expected to have hurricane strength winds on its west-central coast according to the National Hurricane Center.
Though the weather and COVID, as one Minnesota RV tourist put it, “What’s a little wind and rain?”
The Gulf Coast had a rough hurricane season last year and it makes you wonder if Tropical Storm Claudette was just a glimpse of what is to come.