The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season began this July and will continue to ravage the Southeast and surrounding areas until late November. The first official hurricane of the season, Beryl, formed during the month of July and was the first hurricane to form in the eastern Atlantic since Bertha in 2008. After Hurricane Chris formed in July, waters appeared calm. However, in Sept. 2018, Hurricane Florence became the first major hurricane of the season in the Atlantic. Despite landing as a Category One, Florence caused severe damage to the Carolinas, primarily due to freshwater flooding. Recently, as of Oct. 9, the second major hurricane of the season made landfall in the Florida panhandle--Hurricane Michael.
PHOTO COURTESY OF WVTM
Hurricane Michael first hit Mexico Beach, FL at 155 mph on Oct. 10, becoming the third-most intense hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in terms of extreme pressure. Although Michael dissipated as of Oct. 16, disastrous effects remain. Around 48 deaths have been attributed to the hurricane: 15 in Central America and 33 in the U.S. The cost in damages is estimated to be at least $6 billion.
The southern peninsula of the U.S. is generally accustom to seasonal tropical storms, but this year’s hurricanes, proved to be a challenge. Abby Freeman (‘22) commented on her fear regarding her uncle who lives by the Gulf of Mexico, “Having an uncle who lives on the coast of Alabama, I was nervous to hear any news from him. He normally prepares well for tropical storms, but knowing the intensity of Hurricane Michael, he prepared for the absolute worst case scenario.”
Thankfully, for some Drew students, the hurricane did not impact them nearly as much as those in Mexico Beach area. Sofia Carianna said, “I’m fortunate enough to be from southeast Florida, so we just got a windy thunderstorm and everything was okay unlike Hurricane Irma last year, which destroyed my yard and nearly flattened my entire house. I was really worried about hurricane Michael until it turned out we wouldn’t be affected.”
For others, the storm has scattered family, friends and pets, destroyed livestock and farming land in Florida and Georgia and has ruined many homes and buildings. A relief effort is underway for those affected Organizations such as UNICEF USA and the American Red Cross help with yearly hurricane damage, and you can help by simply donating through their websites.
If you are a student who has been affected by the hurricane, you can contact Drew counseling for extra assistance.