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Superintendent talks aftermath of Hurricane Sally

By |  October 8, 2020 0 Comments
Photo: Edward Daigle

A crew member cleans up a downed tree at Osceola Municipal Golf Course in Pensacola, Fla. (Photo: Edward Daigle)

When Hurricane Sally made landfall the evening of Sept. 16 into the morning of Sept. 17, it was nothing out of the ordinary for hurricane season for Eddie Daigle, superintendent of Osceola Municipal Golf Course in Pensacola, Fla.

Hurricane Sally hit Pensacola, Fla., exactly 16 years to the date after Hurricane Ivan. Eddie Daigle, superintendent of Osceola Municipal Golf Course in Pensacola, Fla., says this time around, the golf course did not suffer as much damage. (Photo: Edward Daigle)

Hurricane Sally hit Pensacola, Fla., exactly 16 years to the date after Hurricane Ivan. Eddie Daigle, superintendent of Osceola Municipal Golf Course in Pensacola, Fla., says this time around, the golf course did not suffer as much damage. (Photo: Edward Daigle)

“It was a Category 1 when we went to bed so honestly, I wasn’t that worried about it,” he said.

He said he woke up around 3 a.m. on Sept. 17, Sandy was a Category 2 hurricane and wind speeds had picked up to 105 miles (up from the expected 80 mph).

“We were on the right, northeast quadrant, so we were getting the worst winds,” he said.

Gulf Shores, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla., bore the brunt of the storm.

The National Weather Service said Hurricane Ivan, a Category 3 storm, brought 120 mph sustained surface winds and a significant storm surge of roughly 10 to 12 feet on Sept. 16, 2004. This time around, with Hurricane Sally, winds topped 121 mph and 5.6 feet storm surge. Daigle estimates the course got about 24 inches of rain during Hurricane Sally.

“I’m going to have to get a new roof, but I had to get a new roof when Hurricane Ivan went through,” he said. “It was exactly 16 years ago to the date that Hurricane Ivan came through. They’re basically in the same spot.”

Daigle says Osceola Golf Course, an 18-hole municipal course, is too far inland to worry about storm surge.

“We probably lost about dozen trees versus about 300 last time,” said Daigle, comparing Hurricane Sally to Hurricane Ivan. “I have some washouts, where surface runoff was.”

And, a day after Hurricane Sally made landfall, Daigle said there were golfers on the greens.

“Before (the hurricane), golf has been up for us with the whole coronavirus thing,” he said. “We’ve been doing better than we were at this point last year. We got a little setback with the hurricane. We’ll get it cleaned up and get going again.”

Thankfully, power wasn’t out for only a couple of days. The course opened, and crews are cleaning up areas that were too wet to get into right after the hurricane and staking trees that are leaning.

 

Eddie Daigle, superintendent of Osceola Municipal Golf Course in Pensacola, Fla., estimates the course lost a dozen trees due to winds from Hurricane Sally. <br /> (Photo: Edward Daigle)

Eddie Daigle, superintendent of Osceola Municipal Golf Course in Pensacola, Fla., estimates the course lost a dozen trees due to winds from Hurricane Sally.  (Photo: Edward Daigle)

“We have a few sections of fence to replace and will need a new roof on the maintenance facility,” he said, noting the roof is currently shrink-wrapped. “We spent last week catching up on mowing and are doing the smaller cleanup after morning jobs this week and will probably do the same next week also.”

Daigle has taken Hurricane Sally in stride, noting the original nine holes opened in 1926, and when the city of Pensacola bought the course, an additional 9 holes opened sometime in 1929 or 1930.

“We’ve been through several hurricanes,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll go through more.”

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