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Hurricane Season 2017: America’s Worst in Years

Hurricane+Harvey+caused+widespread+flooding+in+Houston%2C+Texas.+%28via+By+U.S.+Army+photo+by+1st+Lt.+Zachary+West+CCO%29
Hurricane Harvey caused widespread flooding in Houston, Texas. (via By U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Zachary West CCO)

Hurricane Harvey caused widespread flooding in Houston, Texas. (via By U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Zachary West CCO)

Hurricane Harvey caused widespread flooding in Houston, Texas. (via By U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Zachary West CCO)

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As the Atlantic hurricane season passes its midpoint, three major storms stand out as the most catastrophic in the United States and Caribbean. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria devastated Texas and Puerto Rico, as well as Pine Crest’s very own South Florida community.

Hurricane Harvey, a category four storm, first made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast August 25 and brought heavy rainfall to Texas and Louisiana for almost a week. The storm created intense, record breaking rain and flooding. Many people were evacuated from their homes in boats, as the flooding was too deep for cars to navigate. Overall, 82 people perished as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

While Hurricane Harvey’s damage was primarily flood related, Hurricane Irma’s destruction was a consequence of record breaking winds. With sustained wind speeds of up to 185 mph for 37 continuous hours, Hurricane Irma had the longest sustained wind speed on record for an Atlantic storm. In Florida, the eye of the storm made landfall twice, once in the Keys and a second time near Marco Island. Although Broward, Miami Dade, and Palm Beach County avoided the worst of the storm, the tricounty area did not emerge unscathed. Many South Floridians were without power for a week and experienced extensive damage to their homes from flying debris and falling trees. Sophomore Liz Buehl said, “a giant tree fell in my yard and blocked me from exiting my house.” Across Florida and the Caribbean, this storm had a death toll of at least 112.

Although Puerto Rico escaped the brunt of Hurricane Irma’s fury, the island was not so fortunate when it came to Hurricane Maria. The category four storm brought widespread destruction to Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands, resulting in 34 deaths. Much of Puerto Rico is still without power, and currently the island’s government is focused on restoring the basics, such as food, clean water, and power.

Just this week, a new storm named Hurricane Nate hit Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and Northern Florida.   The storm has now weakened into a tropical storm, but still caused massive amounts of damage and left thousands without power.

Pine Crest students have taken action in a variety of ways to help the victims of these devastating storms. They made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a local soup kitchen and collected diapers, wipes, blankets and other supplies to be distributed to victims of Hurricane Harvey through the Texas Diaper Bank. Pine Crest support efforts will continue  through October 13 and include a battery and toiletry drive for Puerto Rico, a Homecoming food drive for local food pantries, a wipe, diaper, and flashlight drive for Puerto Rico, and a feminine hygiene product drive for victims of Hurricane Irma. Additionally, Playing for Change, the annual fundraising concert, plans to donate this year’s proceeds to disaster relief. Mr. Fitzpatrick said, “Following our Homecoming celebrations, through PCCF and other student clubs and organizations, we will concentrate our disaster relief efforts on helping local families and schools in the Florida Keys, still reeling from Hurricane Irma.”

The damage of these storms will continue to affect Americans for many months to come, and Pine Crest offers students various efforts to assist in recovery.

Sources: Quartz, The Atlantic, ABC News, Phys, The Guardian 

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Hurricane Season 2017: America’s Worst in Years