Hurricane Irma affects East Coast students

Over the past week, Category 5 Hurricane Irma cause massive flooding and damage to various islands in the Caribbean as well as several states in the East Coast. Photo credit: Associated Press

By Monica Rodriguez | Reporter

Over the weekend, Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc through the Caribbean and up into the Florida and Georgia areas.

On Wednesday, the Category 5 storm was projected to cause an enormous amount of damage to various islands and territories, including Puerto Rico.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, junior Crisitan Rigual says although there was a state of emergency declared in Puerto Rico and several people evacuated the area, his family decided to stay.

“I trust that they’re going to be OK,” Rigual said. “They boarded up all the windows and doors in the house and have stocked up on food and water. I just hope that everyone is going to be safe.”

Fortunately, due to a change in course, the storm ended up barely passing north of Puerto Rico, sparing the area from what could have been a huge devastation to the U.S. territory. However, the widespread winds and flooding resulted in the loss of electrical power for over 1 million people, according to NBC News.

As the weekend progressed, Florida was also predicted to take a huge hit by the hurricane, which had only diminished to a Category 4 storm. President Trump also declared a state of emergency for the area and urged people to evacuate to safety.

Weston, Fla., sophomore Francesca Maietta said her family also chose to stay in the area and not evacuate.

“There were several of my close friends and family who decided to just stay and wait the storm out,” Maietta said. “There were also people I knew who tried to evacuate but couldn’t, simply because the airports and highways were so full of people trying to get out.”

As for how her family is doing in the wake of the Irma, Maietta says they are shaken up, but safe and well.

“It’s definitely nerve-wracking being so far away from my family at a time like this,” Maietta said. “But having professors and friends who have been so kind in keeping me and my family in their thoughts has been an immense help.”

With the worst now behind, Irma has been weakened to a tropical storm and may even become a tropical depression by the time it reaches other states like Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and the Carolinas by Monday and Tuesday, according to The Weather Channel. However, the threat of damage to infrastructure and surrounding homes is still at large.

In her weekly Presidential Perspective letter to Baylor students, faculty and staff, President Linda Livingstone commends the school’s support for those who were recently affected by Hurricane Harvey and asks for continued prayers to the ones who will continue to be affected by Hurricane Irma as well.