Hurricane Michael frightens Staples students, alumni


By Audrey Bernstein ’20

Category four Hurricane Michael reached North Carolina on Oct. 11, where it has closed schools, roads and flooded rivers. The storm struck the Florida Panhandle the week of Oct. 8. The storm was described by the National Hurricane Center as “potentially catastrophic.”

“This is the worst storm that our Florida Panhandle has seen in a century,” Governor Rick Scott said for the New York Times. The effects of the storm will be felt in Connecticut through heavy rain and potential flash floods.

In order to help with storm relief, The Red Cross sent volunteers from Connecticut and Rhode Island. Staples students have felt the effects of the storm as well.

Samantha Gefen ’20 has family living in Boca Raton, Florida as well as in Lake Worth and Boynton Beach. While none of them are in the center of the storm, they will experience heavy rain and high winds. “I used to live there and know the fear that [my family members] have right now,” Gefen said.

According to Gefen, the supplies that many of her family members need to prepare for the storm have been sold out of the gas stations. “I am afraid that there will be damage to their houses and that they can possibly get hurt themselves,” she said.

Gefen said she feels as though there are many other people in Westport are concerned.

“I know many of my friends in Westport have grandparents who live in Florida, and they are also scared for their family,” she said.

Hailey Nusbaum ’20 also has relatives in Florida; however, she is not as afraid.

“It does make me nervous, but my grandma usually has a safe place to go inland that she goes to for many of the hurricanes,” Nusbaum said.

Sam New ’18 attends the University of Tampa, which was impacted by heavy rain, wind and flooding. Some classes were canceled due to the high wind levels, according to New.

While New’s school reacted to the storm, Ethan Brodows ’18 does not believe this is the case at the University of Florida. According to Brodows, the university’s administration has not drawn attention to the hurricane.

“You would think there would be signs, signals or something to at least tell students there was a hurricane on the way,” he said, “but there’s nothing.”  

Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina have declared a state of emergency along with Florida.

It is projected to move through Virginia and towards the western Atlantic Ocean next.

Despite the forecast, New feels safe. “The storm doesn’t make me that nervous,” he said. “The city and the county is very prepared for things like hurricanes.”