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Hurricane disasters sweep southern coast

by Caroline Upthegrove and Chae Woon Yoo | Photo courtesy of Christopher Lee/WSJ

The 2019 hurricane season has yielded heavy devastation through Atlantic islands and along southeast U.S. states.

On the Texas Gulf Coast, five people have died from Tropical Storm Imelda. According to the National Weather Service, Imelda dumped as much as 43 inches in southeast Texas. It is considered the worst storm in Texas since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Hundreds of homes were flooded and destroyed.

“The entire American nation is standing by your side. We love you, we support you and we will be there every step of the way,” said President Trump in Houston on Sunday, Sept. 22. 

Trump stopped at the Coast Guard hangar in Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base the same day to answer some questions and promised to make the federal government “totally available” for Imelda relief.

Hurricane Dorian was a Category 5 hurricane that formed Aug. 24 and dispersed Sept. 10. It was deemed the second strongest Atlantic hurricane in modern meteorological records by the National Hurricane Center with maximum sustained winds at 185 mph. 

NASA’s satellite imaging system IMERG showed more than 36 inches of rainfall over the Bahamas and an area off the coast of northeastern Florida, the largest rainfall recorded. 

Over the course of 40 hours, the hurricane hit northwestern Bahamas, killing at least 50 people and leaving thousands homeless, according to the Washington Post.

Hurricane Dorian then hit Southeastern United States and Atlantic Canada. The extent of most of the damage was in the Bahamas.

ORU track athlete Sasha Wells is a junior history major from Nassau, New Providence in The Bahamas. While her home island did not get the brunt of the hurricane’s damage, her aunt and uncle’s homes were flooded in the Grand Bahamas. 

“It was very stressful and traumatic to get in touch with [my aunt and uncle],” Wells expressed. “Luckily no one was physically harmed.” 

According to the Wall Street Journal, the storm affected about 75,000 residents and more than 1,300 people are missing.

Sherard McAlpine, senior finance major, is from Freeport, Grand Bahamas. Although his personal home was not impacted, the eastern end of the island where he grew up is almost gone.

“Cousins, grandparents, everyone lives next to each other on the same street. Everyone looks after each other,” said McAlpine. “When I go home for fall break or Thanksgiving break, the areas I grew up in won’t be there anymore.”

McAlpine’s childhood region was not the only thing he lost; he lost a close friend from his high school who tragically drowned due to the flooding. 

Hurricane Dorian left around 70,000 people homeless and in need of aid, but with many companies like MercyCorps distributing food, shelter and supplies to families, McAlpine holds onto hope for the Bahamas restoration. 

“Bahamians! We are strong, we are resilient and we will bounce back. I’m excited to see what God has in store.” said McAlpine.