Tropical Storm Florence forces college students to evacuate


By Alexandra Sprouls ’19

With Tropical Storm Florence causing chaos in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia through heavy downpour and strong winds, many Staples alumni were forced to temporarily return to Westport due to the evacuations issued by their universities.

“This year, the entire coast of South Carolina was evacuated, which was, in my opinion, a good call,” Kristina Wasserman ’17, College of Charleston student, said. “Florence was essentially unpredictable at that time, so better safe than sorry.”

Tropical Storm Florence was originally a Category Four storm but was downgraded to a Category One before reaching North Carolina.

Jane Handa ’17, a College of William & Mary student, and Olivia Von der Ahe ’18, a College of Charleston student, believe the evacuation to have been unnecessary after receiving updates about the storm.

“I think it was necessary at the time we were evacuated since the threat of being really hit was big. Now, I don’t think we needed to be evacuated since the path of the storm has changed,” Handa said.

Students are confident in their colleges’ ability to recover from the storm and ensure student safety based on past extreme weather experiences and their canceling classes.

“I think that [College of Charleston] is very prepared, especially trying to keep everyone safe and making people leave,” Von der Ahe said.

College of Charleston also provided housing and transportation for students unable to evacuate on their own.

Towns received up to 36 inches of rain with a high of 90 miles per hour winds according to the National Hurricane Center.

CBS News reported there are more than 25,000 people in shelters in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia with 900,000 power outages reported as of Saturday, Sept. 15. Thirty-seven people have died from storm-related incidents as of Wednesday, Sept. 19.

“I am concerned about the possible destruction,” Aaron Leopold ’18, College of William & Mary student, said, “and feel for those affected by the hurricane.”