Tropical disturbance in Caribbean has the attention of gulf coast residents

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 7:18 PM CDT
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ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WALA) - A disturbance in the southeast Caribbean is already drawing the attention of a lot of folks here on the gulf coast. We’ve just passed the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sally and many coastal spots are just recovering from that damage.

One of those spots is Zeke’s Marina in Orange Beach. The marina reopened a year ago, but the restaurant just had a soft opening Tuesday, September 20, 2022. The entire property was a complete rebuild after Hurricane Sally.

When folks come to the new restaurant, they will see some reminders of that terrible night. The centerpiece in the dining room is a giant photograph of Zeke’s fleet…the calm before the storm…taken the night of September 15th, 2020, just before Sally’s landfall. It’s been a two-year process and the new construction will hold up much better to violent storms.

“We built to much higher standards that we were required to, both on the docks and within the structure of the building,” said Zeke’s owner, Lynn Swafford.

Even with that renewed confidence, Swafford said she’s very aware of what’s going on int the tropics, especially where Invest 98 is concerned.

“I’m not frightened. I actually feel more prepared than I was going into Hurricane Sally,” said Swafford. “Of course, we didn’t expect what we got then, but I’m just taking inventory and making sure that all my making sure that all my plans are in place and we will be ready.”

Much of the gulf coast still hasn’t recovered completely from Sally. It’s very evident by the lack of progress on rebuilding the Gulf State Park Pier. As we enter the heart of hurricane season EMA officials want folks to stay aware and informed. EMA Director, Zach Hood said the disturbance in the Caribbean isn’t cause for alarm but a reminder to stay vigilant.

Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency Director, Zach Hood discusses long-term outlook for...
Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency Director, Zach Hood discusses long-term outlook for tropical disturbance, Invest 98(Hal Scheurich)

“Until there’s a center point, we don’t know exactly what this will do, so we’re waiting for this to develop, if it develops and once it develops, then we will be ready to begin our decision matrix based on what happens from there,” Hood explained.

Along Alabama’s beaches, it was business as usual on the first day of fall. Locals were enjoying the day but were also aware and on guard for what the next ten days may bring.

“We was hoping that we’re going to get through this but as you see, right now of course we’ll keep an eye on that because it’s next week, the middle of the week and you never know what’s going to happen,” Gulf Shores resident, Liza Tanasoglo said.

The message from Baldwin County EMA is for residents to be ready. Right now, and through the weekend would be a good time to check up on all your hurricane preparedness essentials.

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