Walt's Look Around: September Gales - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: September Gales

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Take yourself back to a time before weather satellites and computer models, even TV weathercasts, to when you forecast the weather by how many and which joints ached when you got up in the morning.

You'll slip into a long ago time when mid state-ers called these tropical systems like the one we just experienced, "September gales." 

All they knew before modern forecasting matured was it was hot and thirsty one day. Then, all of a sudden, building clouds showed up skirting in on an east or south east wind. Then, for the next 24 to 48 hours or so, there would be a mixture of good news and bad news. The good news, the heat was going to break; for a little while, at least. The bad news, depending on how much rain came along with the wind, you might lose a cotton crop, just now coming into bowl. 

I was in my halcyon days as a weather forecaster when I first heard the term "September gales" from an old man who had farmed 80 acres in north Madison County for years 60 or so way back then. He'd seen tropical systems come through all of his life, every few years or so. Blustery winds and buffeting rain that, with no warning, all of a sudden blew in from the south.  

And when they came, there was nothing you could do about it, but wait it out and see if it was just mild enough to water everything; needed just before the autumn drought, or so strong it whipped the crops into the ground. 

So this then, that we've experienced mid-state with Gustavo was what the old timers here would have called a September gale. They wouldn't have had any way to know that the same system would have caused flooding across Highway 90 on the coast or dowsed Pearlington again, not to mention that this same storm would have ever been in Cuba or the islands farther outward. 

The first they'd have seen would have been the winds swaying the plants in the yard and the rain waterlogging the cotton.   

The waltz of the flowers and the Eucalyptus calypso, and grass reeds down in the slew, doing a hula all on their own. 

How blissful it must have been for inlanders back in the old days who knew nothing more about these systems than another September gale had blown up around them. And that usually meant some mandatory time off from farm work with little more to do than take a day to sit and wool gather and watch it rain, maybe thinking  about the cold winter rains to come; and wait for it to dry out once again. 

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