Hurricane Season 2020 Continues in High Gear
Hurricane Laura was a late-August monster that caused catastrophic damage to Lake Charles and other towns in Louisiana and Texas. Storm surge, high winds and heavy rains plus portable generators caused multiple deaths, large scale damage to a huge number of structures, over a half million power outages and localized damage far inland. The Perdido Key Area was spared most of Laura’s effects, except for dangerous surf. Preceding storm Hurricane Marco ended up mostly a rain event with
Pensacola receiving a record rainfall of 2.44” for August 24, 2020. Hurricane Season 2020 is unfortunately living up to its very active expectations. For more on Hurricane Laura, see August 28, 2020 ABC Eyewitness News/AP article “Death Toll from Hurricane Laura Climbs to 11” at
https://abc7ny.com/weather/death-toll-from-hurricane-laura-climbs-to-11/6393635/; for more on Hurricane Marco, see the August 25, 2020 Pensacola News Journal article “Tropical Storm Marco broke Pensacola rainfall record, storms churn up high surf” by Jim Little at https://www.pnj.com/story/weather/2020/08/25/northwest-florida-got-bulkrain-tropical-storm-marco-setting-record-rainfall-aug-24-pensacoladespit/3431669001/?for-guid=dde30dac-0679-44b4-ab87-
National Seashore Reopening
Gulf Islands National Seashore was effectively closed because of recent tropical storm activity with some areas closed earlier because of the COVID-19 crisis. The park beach areas, including Perdido Key (Johnson Beach), were reopened on August 27, 2020 and Fort Pickens campgrounds are expected to be open at 50% capacity by August 31, 2020. For more on this issue, see the August 26, 2020 Pensacola News Journal article “Gulf Islands Seashore ready to reopen areas after Marco” at https://www.pnj.com/story/news/2020/08/26/gulf-islands-national-seashore-reopeningafter-tropical-storm-marco/5636197002/
Big Lagoon Boat Landing
Although contractors still have work remaining, the upgrade to the Big Lagoon Boat Ramp is substantially completed and being enjoyed by area boaters. Among the improvements are an additional lane to the boat ramp, more boat trailer parking, improved traffic circulation, and a new restroom facility. Drawn from Escambia County document “Big Lagoon Boat Ramp” at https://myescambia.com/docs/defaultsource/sharepoint-natural-resources-management/RESTORE/Projects/big-lagoonboat-ramp.pdf?sfvrsn=b57e86bb_9.
Pensacola Bay Bridge Multi-Use Path Opens
The long awaited multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists on the new Pensacola Bay Bridge has opened. Delays in completion included railing redesign and vibration testing. For more on the issue, see the August 15, 2020 Pensacola News Journal article “After several delays, Pensacola Bay Bridge multi-use path finally set to open Monday” by Madison Arnold at https://www.pnj.com/story/news/2020/08/15/pensacolabay-bridge-multi-use-path-set-open-monday-after-delays/5583434002/.
Orange Beach High and Middle School Opens
Orange Beach and Baldwin County leaders officially opened the new Orange Beach High and Middle School on August 10, 2020, with the first students arriving on August 12. The school is located on Canal Road and has high school on the first floor and middle school on the second. A Performing Arts Center is under construction adjacent to the school. For more on this, see the Aug 26-Sept 9, 2020 Mullet Wrapper article
“Having its own high school is watershed moment in Orange Beach history” by Marc D. Anderson at https://mulletwrapper.net/having-its-own-high-school-is-watershedmoment-in-orangebeachhistory/
Tons of Microplastics in Atlantic Ocean
A new study points to much larger quantities of microplastics in the Atlantic Ocean than previous estimates. Microplastics are any plastic particles less than 5mm and may come from specific use in clothing, cosmetics or industry or from the breakdown of larger plastic items, such as packaging material. The UK National Oceanographic Centre study estimates 12-21 million tons of microplastics in the Atlantic Ocean,
“enough to fully load almost 1,000 container ships;” some measurements were as high as “7,000 particles per cubic meter of seawater.” As an interesting aside, according to Susannah Bleakley who helps coordinate UK beach cleanups: “We now find more disposable masks than plastic bags.” For more on the issue, see the August 18, 2020
BBC.com article “Microplastic in Atlantic Ocean ‘could weigh 21 million tones’” by Victoria Gill at https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-53786555.
International Coastal Cleanup 2020
International Coastal Cleanup Day for 2020 has a different tone than previous years because of COVID-19. Event sponsor Ocean Conservancy has emphasized the need to stay safe and healthy and provided guidance on solo or small group cleanups (available at https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/international-coastalcleanup/clean-icc-2020/). The Perdido Key Association, Friends of Pensacola State Parks and local Florida State Park officials have organized beach cleanups on International Coastal Cleanup Day the third Saturday in September for several years.
For 2020, they plan to provide an opportunity to cleanup Perdido Key beaches by staging trash bags and gloves at the West Use Area of the Perdido Key State Park from 8 AM until noon on September 19 so beach goers can help clean-up Perdido Key beaches during their stay at the beach, with social distancing and personal safety emphasized. Other beach cleanup opportunities can be found at Pensacola’s Ocean
Hour FL website at https://www.oceanhourfl.com/ and for Alabama beaches at https://alabamacoastalcleanup.com/.
Beach Vitex Going to Seed
Escambia County Sea Grant representative Rick O’Connor reminds us that beach vitex is a Category 1 invasive plan and a state noxious weed. It will soon be going from flower to profuse and hardy black seeds that can propagate by land and sea. If beach vitex is on your property, consider removing and destroying the seeds; if you would like the plant removed, contact Rick O’Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Drawn from August 28 2020 “Sea Grant Notes” at http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/escambiaco/2020/08/28/sea-grantnotes-aug-28-2020/.
PKA Website Changes
On September 1, 2020 the Perdido Key Association is changing its web host and design firm to DigitalEffex and its host platform to WordPress, one of the industry standards. The website will have the same page categories and links as the previous version but with slightly modified formats. The new platform will be easier to update.
PKA Adopt-A-Highway Participation
The Perdido Key Association has participated in the Florida Department of
Transportation’s (FDOT) Adopt-A-Highway program since June 2015. Every three months since then volunteers have picked up litter along a two mile portion of Rt. 98 from Dog Track Road to Trout Road. But new leadership for the clean-up program is needed for PKA to keep up its Adopt-A-Highway responsibilities. If interested, please contact PKA president Charles Krupnick at 334 482-2843.
Sep 1,5: Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermans Market every Tuesday and
Saturday in Foley during September
Sep 05: Labor Day Car Show at OWA
Sep 05: Wildcat 100 Ultra-Marathon at 7750 Mobile Hwy
Sep 06: Light Up Labor Day at The Wharf
Sep 07: Labor Day
Sep 10: Cher Here We Go Again Tour 2020 at Pensacola Bay Center
Sep 11: Annual Golf Challenge for Education at Peninsula Golf and Racquet Club
Sep 12: Pensacola Beach Food Truck Events Sep 12-Nov 1, 2020
Sep 12,13: Annual Massacre Island’s Pirate Siege on Dauphin Island
Sep 13: Navy Federal 5K – All Virtual Event
Sep 19: Take Stock in Children Golf Tournament at Perdido Bay Golf Resort
Sep 26: Jubilee Festival Daphne
Sep 26,27: PBR’s Unleash the Beast bull riding at Pensacola Bay Center
Sep 26,27: Northwest FL Quarter Horse Association Horse Show at 7750 Mobile Hwy
Sep 30: Beach Boys at the Saenger Theater downtown Pensacola
The following websites provide additional information about events taking place in our
great Gulf Coast region:
Perdido Key Association Board of Directors
Hurricane Season 2020 Continues in High Gear