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Gulf Coast monsoon drenches spring vacation

A week ago, Geanell and I were vacationing on the Alabama Gulf Coast in the company of four of her first cousins, their spouses and close friends.  

Normally, weather conditions are ideal for outdoor activities, such as walking on the breach, soaking up the sun, playing in the waves or simply sitting on a beachside porch watching others do their thing. Unfortunately, it was not that kind of vacation this year.  

For the most part, black clouds, lightning, thunderstorms and tornado threats kept us hunkered down inside. 

Rain was in the weather forecast for north Alabama the day we started our vacation. We were put on notice about what to expect during the 350-mile trip.  

After driving through heavy fog in Jefferson County, we encountered a heavy thunderstorm in Prattville and drove through two others before we reached Gulf Shores. We also learned a tornado watch was in effect for the Gulf Coast.  

Early the next morning, a thunderstorm with 60-mile per hour winds dumped three inches of rain and caused minor flooding on the Fort Morgan Parkway. A few miles to the east, hailstones the size of baseballs broke front and rear windshields and caused other major damage to the automobiles parked outside. 

Thunderstorms prevailed as the leading weather-maker throughout the week. The storms, along with COVID-19 precautions, limited the range of activities usually enjoyed during the vacation week.  

Geanell and I broke away from the group Sunday and drove into Gulf Shores for a seafood dinner. The group also ordered food from a local seafood restaurant twice.  

Meanwhile, we spent lots of time playing cards, resting, reading and watching TV programs. 

As weather would have it, we ended our vacation in the rain Friday morning. It slowed traffic and made driving dangerous while we were on the Gulf Shores Parkway and didn’t end until we reached Atmore on Interstate 65.  

Fortunately, cloudy skies prevailed for the remainder of the trip, and the sun was shining when we arrived back in Hartselle.  

We were fortunate and thankful for a week to spend time with family and friendseven during unfavorable weather. We’re also glad to be back home even though it means we have lots of yard and garden work to do.