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Hurricane Ian reaches community, spurs discussion around climate change

Photo used with permission from Florida Fish and Wildlife/Flickr
Flooding and winds from Hurricane Ian cause sidewalks and the pavement to crack in Florida. The hurricane resulted in damage to thousands of homes and the evacuation of many citizens.

Hurricane Ian hit Florida’s western coast with intense wind and rainfall, causing more than 114 deaths, according to The New York Times. The hurricane initially developed over the central Caribbean Sea Sept. 23 as a tropical storm, according to World Vision.

In an online survey conducted by The Standard with 117 student and faculty responses, 24% of respondents had a connection to Hurricane Ian, and 60% said the impacts of the hurricane should be discussed within the school curriculum. 

Despite the frequent hurricanes in Florida, Library Administrative Assistant Stephen Reed, who is from Tampa, said he was especially worried due to the abnormal size of Hurricane Ian.

“It’s just a fact of life every year,” he said. “So, on one hand, I was like, ‘Okay here we go again,’ but the size of the storm was unusual.”

Fortunately, Reed said the storm swung to the South and caused little damage to Tampa.

Knud Jensen (’23), who has lived in Miami, said although no one he knew was ultimately harmed, he was concerned in the moment for the safety of his friends in Florida. 

“I was pretty worried mainly because I thought it would be more devastating to Miami than it actually was,” he said. “I was worried that they might be killed especially because one of my friends was flying back the same day, but nothing happened.”

Meanwhile, Computer Science Teacher Livia Piloto said her family in Orlando experienced power outages and is unable to attend school. However, Piloto said because their home is more inland, the destruction was less severe than in houses closer to water. 

“They told me that they have friends that are just stitched in their homes because of the flooding all around them,” she said. “They’re not allowed to go in and help. The government told them no one can go into those parts that were being affected, so even though my sister-in-law really wanted to help her friends, they couldn’t.”

Sometimes there is so much hype and so much worry that … the government tells you to evacuate, and then nothing happens.

— Computer Science Teacher Livia Piloto

Piloto also said hurricanes often cause stress but are less destructive than expected. For example, Piloto said there have been occurrences where hurricane alerts have been false alarms. 

“Sometimes there is so much hype and so much worry that … the government tells you to evacuate, and then nothing happens,” she said.

Even so, Piloto said after frequent news reports about Hurricane Ian, she started to become more worried about her family in Florida.

“So, I think, because you get so desensitized with hurricanes when you’re in the Gulf, right, you certainly are more, like, ‘Oh it’s just another hurricane,’” she said. “But, after a bit I started to get worried, I noticed that there was a lot of news about it and so I contacted my sister-in-law to see how she was doing.”

When communicating with his family, Reed said most procedures put in place are familiar to him. Reed said procedure includes boarding up windows and gathering necessities as well as preparing for a week without electricity.

“You just have to think about how to live basically off the grid for several days,” he said. “You have to be prepared for that.”

Reed said he is concerned for the families who remained in Florida when Hurricane Ian hit.

You just have to think about how to live basically off the grid for several days.

— Library Administrative Assistant Stephen Reed

“I was amazed when the storm hit Fort Myers and I heard that 200 families stayed on Sanibel Island, which is a barrier island,” he said. “Those islands are made of sand. I think if you are told to evacuate, you should evacuate.”

Similarly, Jensen said it is “irrational” for people to choose not to evacuate, especially those living in hurricane strike zones.

Ultimately, Jensen said he hopes those affected by the hurricane receive help after the destruction.

“Obviously, I’m concerned about people living in Fort Lauderdale,” he said. “I really hope the people get some sort of relief from it, whether it be an aid or something similar.”

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About the Contributor
Sophia Hsu, Media Team
Sophia Hsu ('26) is a member of the Media Team for The Standard in Advanced Journalism.

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