Heavy rains may dampen tailgating expectations

Posted on Aug 30 2017 - 7:55pm by Trenton Scaife

Tropical storm Harvey sets its sights north this weekend, hitting Mississippi just in time for both Labor Day weekend and the start of college football season.

After devastating the Houston metro area, the record-setting storm made its third and final landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border Wednesday. It is expected to travel northeast, hitting Oxford and Lafayette County on Thursday and Friday. While the storm is likely to weaken to a tropical depression, flooding is still expected in parts of the Gulf Coast.

Although the rains are scheduled to end by Saturday’s game against South Alabama, game-goers can can still expect a mud-coated start to Ole Miss football season.

Work is slated to go on as usual for Ole Miss maintenance crews, though. Facilities Management is charged with setting up faculty and staff tents for game day. Its crew will be out in full force for the weekend’s game, so long as the weekend’s weather doesn’t throw more than rain its way.

James “Poncho” Wilson, driver for Facilities Management, said they have all the gear they need to work in inclement weather. 

“We have rain suits and everything,” he said. “Unless it knocks down trees and puts the power out, we’ll keep working.”

Harrison Drake, a history major and long-time tailgater, said that while a muddy Grove won’t keep him out, high chances of rain may cause him to skip the season opener.

“I remember awful, awful Grove times where it’s been muddy,” Drake said. “People just knock into each other, but as miserable as it maybe, if it’s not actively raining, I may make an appearance,” he said.

For student Wesley Dodge’s family members, whether or not they’ll be in the Grove depends on the size of the game rather than the forecast.

“If it’s an SEC game such as Alabama or Auburn, we’ll be there,” Dodge said. Because Saturday’s game pitches the Rebels against South Alabama, the Dodges might not unpack their tents in the event of rain.

Even without Saturday showers, midweek storms will leave the Grove saturated on opening day.  People coming to the Grove will likely take it with them when they leave, from their soles to their tent poles.