The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Hurricane Irma lashes Florida; MSU students impacted

After Hurricane Irma decimated the British Virgin Islands and the Florida Keys last week, 61 people were killed, including 30 across three states in the southeastern United States. Nearly 10 million people were left without power.

As Hurricane Harvey lashed the southeastern coast of Texas, bringing with it record flooding to the Houston metro area, another storm formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, just west of the Cabo Verde islands.

This tropical storm was named Irma, and within hours, it strengthened to hurricane status. As Harvey weakened, Irma made its journey west, strengthening even more as it made the westward trek.

Then, last Thursday, Irma became a Category Five hurricane, the highest possible category on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The winds were blowing 185 miles per hour.

During this time, the British & U.S. Virgin Islands took a direct hit from the hurricane, decimating the islands and killing roughly 40 people.

The storm was predicted to hit Miami directly, similar to Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Floyd in 1999. However, as the storm progressed, the “forecast cone” shifted west, putting the Florida Keys and Tampa in the center of the cone.

By late Saturday evening, Irma turned north towards the Florida Keys. As it did, the storm reduced to a category Category Four hurricane, with winds reaching 130 miles per hour.

On Sunday morning, Irma made the first of two U.S. landfalls  in Cudjoe Key, Florida, just east of Key West.

With this landfall, the 2017 Hurricane Season marked the first year in recorded history when two Category Four or higher hurricanes made landfall in the United States. The first Hurricane Harvey.

Whith Irma’s landfall, the Florida Keys suffered a similar fate to St. Maarten, St. Croix and Barbuda, with nearly 90 percent of buildings suffering some form of damage. One in four homes that had been completely destroyed. [NEED A SOURCE HERE].

Irma then made a second landfall on the Florida Peninsula just south of Naples, Florida, as a weakened Category Two hurricane.

After causing nearly 8 million power outages and twelve fatalities in Florida, the storm, although weakened to a tropical storm, made its way into southwestern Georgia.

This created dangerous weather conditions in the Atlanta metropolitan area on Monday. 2 million people lost power in Georgia.

Some MSU students from the area worried about their relatives weathering the storm. One was Alex Clarke, a graduate student majoring in psychology from Sarasota, Florida. Clarke said the preparation was mentally and physically exhausting for his family.

“Being from Sarasota, Hurricane Irma affected my family more than just physical damage.” Clarke said. “It was a long week watching, waiting and preparing for the worst from the storm.”

As was the case with Hurricane Harvey, the MSU Maroon Volunteer Center is preparing to assist those affected by Hurricane Irma. Through MSU announcements, the center sent an email to all students, faculty and staff thanking them for their willingness to help those affected.

“When a disaster happens, it can take months and even years for communities to rebuild,” the email said.

The email encouraged those wanting to help to donation to the MSU Student Relief Fund.

“The MSU Student Relief Fund is built with private gifts and is designed to help those members of the student body affected with day-to-day crises or displaced by catastrophic disasters such as the most recent hurricanes,” the email said.

Additionally, a $10 donation can be made to the American Red Cross by texting IRMA to 90999.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Hurricane Irma lashes Florida; MSU students impacted