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Hurricanes Sweep the Southern United States

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Hurricane Irma on September 8th.

Hurricane Irma on September 8th.

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Hurricane Irma on September 8th.

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Imagine walking out your door and seeing distressed neighbors, shivering dogs and ruined family heirlooms floating by, or imagine waiting for a call from a family member you haven’t seen in days, not knowing whether they’re safe.

Although the impact of both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma was focused on the Gulf Coast, many people felt the effects right here at the school.

Senior Ellah Klinnert’s aunt and uncle live in a suburb about 30 minutes outside of Houston. The couple is in their late twenties, and their current home is the first one they’ve brought together, said Klinnert.

 The lucky couple did not have any water enter their home, but they still face many challenges since Harvey swept through part of Texas.

“They had one of their cars on the driveway, and it was almost completely submerged in water,” said Klinnert.  

Although the family faced many challenges, the hurricane also brought them closer to their community through these tough times, Klinnert said.

“They have camped out with their neighbors and relied on each other for support and are trying to figure out what to do next,” said Klinnert earlier this month.

English teacher Jon Karschnik also had family affected by Harvey. His wife’s family lives in southern Texas, but they were impacted in more unconventional ways.

“My mother-in-law’s trip of a lifetime that she’s been planning for about the past 30 years was delayed by Harvey because of her flight,” said Karschnik, who added that she was later able to fly to Prague.

Karschnik started a Facebook drive for the Red Cross to support those affected by Harvey. Karschnik said he’ll collect anything he can from donors, with his main goal being to raise $2,000.

Senior Grace Ann Geer, whose aunt, uncle and cousins live in Houston, said her youngest cousin was only able to attend his first two days of kindergarten before schools were canceled due to Harvey.

Geer said her family was unable to evacuate due to the flooding. They helped others in their community whose houses were affected by the downpour.

“My uncle has been walking down to the flooded areas and helping people carry their dogs and belongings to shelters,” said Geer.

A hurricane whose wrath reached much closer to home was Hurricane Irma.

Irma formed near the coast of Africa, and it eventually made its way to Georgia. Irma endangered millions with harsh winds and heavy rain, as it moved over the Atlantic and into the United States.

Regan Swift, a Cambridge alumna and student at St. Augustine, Fla’s Flagler College faced Irma head on. Due to her position on the Flagler volleyball team, Swift left campus after many of her fellow students had begun to evacuate.

“We left two days after the general population did, so finding a ride home was impossible,” said Swift.

After finally evacuating to Georgia, Swift spent four days awaiting her coach’s text to return. She then spent 14 hours in the car, barely making it to practice the next day.

“It was an extremely stressful experience for me and my teammates,” said Swift.

Here in Milton, the effects were far less severe. Senior Jasmine Keith said Hurricane Irma wiped out her power for several days.

“The freezer can’t run, so everything in it is slowly melting,” said Keith. “All the popsicles are melting.”

Keith said that debris from Irma had blocked the exit to her neighborhood, forcing her to find an alternate route to school.  

Senior Lorenzo Gaspart said he also felt the impact of Irma when the back of his home began to shake.

“When the wind picked up, the glass pushed in and shook,” said Gaspart. “It terrified me.”

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Hurricanes Sweep the Southern United States