Drowning in the Gulf Coast

Staff Writer: Maddie Williams

Hurricane Sally wreaked havoc on the Alabama Gulf Coast on Sept. 16. Unfortunately for the residents of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach who were not given a mandatory evacuation order, they were unprepared for the devastation that happened.

My uncle, Brandon Harris, lives on Marina Road in Orange Beach. He had no idea what he was going to see at 2:30am on the morning of Sept. 16. As the water began to come rushing in Brandon said, “It was very scary; I thought my house was going to come apart. You wouldn’t believe it. I had four feet of water downstairs in the rental unit. It was over the countertops. Tore up both boat houses on either side of me. My boat was on trailer, but water still floated it all into the neighbor’s yard. We just pulled it out.”

Water flooded his downstairs coming over the kitchen countertops and into the drawers where silverware was still floating in water three days later. Not only was his downstairs flooded, his truck, his girlfriend’s SUV and his neighbor’s car were flooded. There was not a house on Marina Road without hurricane damage.

The marking of Hurricane Sally. Photo Credit: Gail Harris

Gulf Shores also took a hard hit from Hurricane Sally with winds roaring up to 105 mph. Condos received damage along the beach as Sally dumped torrential rains and destroyed property. My grandmother, Gail Harris, was extremely anxious and nervous not knowing if her condo was still intact. She knew there was no power in Gulf Shores so she realized her food in her freezer and refrigerator would be spoiled. My grandmother’s condo was one of the few that did not receive damage. Other condominiums were not so lucky. Two condos down, Tropic Isles condominium took major damage as the storm made landfall.

Tropic Isles ripped to shreds. Photo Credit: Gail Harris

Tourism is a big part of the Alabama Gulf Coast. With the beaches being closed from Sally’s destruction it will affect the economy. My mom and her friends were supposed to spend this week at Gulf Shores but had to remake plans. Also, my grandmother’s friend and her two daughters were supposed to spend the last week of September in Gulf Shores celebrating her birthday but had to change plans due to the hurricane.

I asked one of my friends that attends Woodstock High School how she felt about Gulf Shores being hit by the storm. “I felt incredibly sad knowing so many places down in Gulf Shores got destroyed. So scary knowing people had to get stuck in their houses having nowhere to go,” exclaimed Isabelle.

Not only did Sally cause destruction along the beach, but also caused problems for Baldwin County farmers. Pecan orchards were uprooted, cotton plants were blown over and peanut fields flooded. Agriculture in Alabama is the state’s number one industry. Pecans and peanuts are the top producer. This affected their agriculture tremendously.

Although there was flooding and damage from Hurricane Sally, things could have been so much worse. As my uncle Brandon said he is a survivor. Many people could have lost their lives as the category 2 hurricane made landfall. This storm arrived on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Ivan which made landfall in the same location in 2004. The Alabama Gulf Coast is coming together and is quickly cleaning up after Hurricane Sally.

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