Pat Shingleton: "The Labor Day Storm"
It was a dark day in early September, 1881 in New England. Only 10% of available sunlight
was found that day as smoke from fires in Michigan, New York, and Ontario closed schools and
businesses. On September 4, 1910, forest fires in northern Idaho and Washington burnt three
million acres of land and killed 82 people as 72 were firefighters. Ships at sea were lost when
the smoke drifted into the ocean. September 5, 1933 found a hurricane making landfall north of
Brownsville, TX, with 106 M.P.H. winds. Citrus trees and fruit clogged area roads with reports
of houses floating for ten miles. Due to the salty storm surge farmland to this day is still unusable.
Known as a compact but intense hurricane, it caused damage in the upper Florida Keys and a
storm surge of 18 to 20 feet. Its winds leveled buildings in Islamorada as numerous World War I
veterans were killed by the storm surge while building the Key West Extension of the Florida
East Coast Railroad. Prior to the naming of storms this was known as the Labor Day Hurricane
of 1935. Other Labor Day storms that pounded Louisiana include Isaac that made the list in 2012.
Gustav posted the highest winds ever recorded while Lili and Rita contributed their share of
destruction on our state.