Article by Paige Stanley. Media by Ethan Maurer.
We have seen countless tragedies in our lifetime, but the most recent are hurricanes, Harvey and Irma. These horrifying events happened within three weeks of each other. Harvey made landfall on August 19 and Irma hit land on September 9. Both of these storms are big enough to be affecting multiple areas at a time. Texas and Florida are the main areas that have been hit.
On August 17, Hurricane Harvey started as a small storm in the Gulf of Mexico then continued to grow into a category 4 hurricane. The wind speeds that were recorded were up to 130 miles per hour. Not only were there strong winds, but also record-breaking rainfall. In Cedar Bayou, rain measured up to 51.88 inches. This was the first major hurricane to hit southern Texas since Hurricane Celia in 1970. Harvey dumped a years-worth of rain in southern Texas. Thirty thousand people went to temporary shelters for safety. Not only was Texas affected, but large amounts of rain was also dumped in Louisiana and southern Arkansas. The storm finally dissipated once it reached the Tennessee and Kentucky area. “It may take up to 180 billion dollars to rebuild the state of Texas,” said Greg Abbott, governor of the state. Close to 94,000 homes have been damaged in Texas alone. The death toll sits at 70 people as of now. Students will be out of school until at least late September. World Vision is doing their best to help those affected by Harvey. Their goal is to reach 30,000 people. Prayers that they will reach that goal in no time.
Hurricane Irma was the next to hit and seems to be the bigger disaster out of the two. It made landfall in the Florida Keys as a category 4 hurricane but still affected places such as the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean. Irma did turn into a category 5 for about three days then downgraded back to a 4. Winds got to a high speed of 185 miles per hour. The record is 190 miles per hour. Jeff Weber, a meteorologist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research says that “those winds are similar to a tornado but this tornado is 80 miles wide.” The rainfall rate was three inches per hour in the eastern part of Florida. 478,340 homes are without power in Florida alone. 127,000 people are been evacuated from their homes in Florida. 4,600 flights in and out of Florida have been canceled. Twenty four people have died in the Caribbean alone. We will know the final death toll after the storm is completely done and rescue people begin to search through the damage. Irma has made a huge impact on Florida that we will never forget.
Thousands of people are being affected by these two enormous storms, even people who attend Greenville University. Some of these students whose homes were in the path of either Irma or Harvey have family that they are waiting to hear from. One example is Kandis Gumbs. Kandis is from the St. Thomas US Virgin Islands. Her beloved family and friends are suffering from the impact that Irma has left on their island. Their homes and businesses were ripped apart and flooded. Wildlife was killed and countless trees were destroyed. She says, “I waited helplessly hoping to hear that my parents were okay. Three whole days of silence.” Can you imagine that? Some still have not heard from their loved ones. Kandis also stated that their main hospital is in terrible condition, so those who need urgent care have to be airlifted to the Caribbean or US for help. Their governor spoke out and said that the whole island will not officially receive electricity until January of next year. They are so low on supplies that the price of a bottle of water has even skyrocketed to eight dollars a bottle.
There are many ways to help not only Kandis but others affected by Harvey and Irma. If you would like to help those who are trying to recover in the St. Thomas Virgin Islands, here is a gofundme page set up by Kandis. She and everyone on the island would appreciate your help.