Hurricanes hit home for Villanovans

Margaret Cunningham

Class of 2006

Hometown: Vero Beach, Fla.

The hurricane has seriously affected my family and close friends who live in south Florida. My house was very blessed because we had minimal flooding and interior damage. We lost a lot of outside stuff like a screen, fences, and trees and we lost our electricity for about a week. But I feel very relieved that we still have a house at all being that I live close to the ocean. From what I hear, my town looks very different. A lot of people have had their house condemned because there is as much as four feet of flooding and their roofs have caved in. It will take at least six to eight months to get things restored and looking back to normal. Families have tried helping other families out by giving them work to help restore damaged businesses. It sounds like people are pulling together because they all want Vero Beach to look as beautiful as it did before the hurricane.

Kerrin Donaldson

Class of 2006

Hometown: Jupiter, Fla.

When the weather reports indicated one of the deadliest storms of the season would be ripping through my hometown of Jupiter, Florida, I was hardly surprised. Hurricanes are like passing rainstorms in South Florida.

After several years of weathering the harsh conditions without any severe damage or loss, I was very skeptical of Frances’ potential harm. However, after talking to my parents each day as the storm approached, they seemed to think that something unlike anything we had seen before would be soon approaching.

My mom told me that people in our town were in sheer panic; shelves at the grocery store were cleared out, there was no gas at any gas station for miles and the current wait for plywood at Home Depot was nearly 10 hours. With this surprising news, I began to get nervous. However, after watching and waiting like a nervous wreck, I was thankful that Frances had no major effect on my house, or any others in my neighborhood.

Besides losing several large trees as well as the screened-in cover for our pool, the damage to our house was minimal. We lost power for two days, and the phone lines were down for several days. Schools were closed for over two weeks, as some areas around my town were out of power for that long. All in all, South Florida weathered Hurricane Frances pretty well.

The key to weathering even the most brutal of hurricanes is preparation. With the help of hurricane panels, stocked food and water, and other necessities, my family was able to get through yet another storm of what is said to be a long hurricane season.

Rebecca Ray

Class of 2006

Hometown: Vero Beach, Fla.

After losing my house in Hurricane Andrew, and having two parents in the Insurance business, I have become quite the expert on hurricanes and know firsthand what type of damage they can do. On Aug. 24, 1992, Andrew, a category five hurricane, produced unprecedented economic devastation along the northwestern Bahamas, the southern Florida peninsula, and south-central Louisiana. The cost of damage in the United States was estimated to be $25 billion, deeming Andrew the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history.

Andrew took South Floridians completely by surprise, particularly my entire neighborhood. The storm, curved at the last minute and as a result, many Floridians were left unprepared for one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in U.S. history. Since we lived right on a lake, we were placed in a flood zone, which forced us to evacuate. With minimal time to prepare, we evacuated to our babysitter’s house in Miami, where we huddled with her and her two kids on her kitchen floor for about 24 hours. All the kids were crying, my mom still had holes in her stomach from the gall bladder surgery the day before, and I, being the scared second grader I was, just remember praying to God that my family and friends would survive. I’ll never forget the sound of the wind, which reminded me of a freight train crashing into a building, and how I asked my parents if it would ever stop. The hours we spent huddled together on that floor felt like an.

A week later when we were finally allowed back to our house in Saga Bay, was when we truly saw the wrath of Andrew. Cars were turned over, boats had flown onto the street, roofs of houses were completely missing and the flooding was so severe people were canoeing to their houses. We found my swing set on my neighbor’s roof, three houses down. The railing to my pool looked like a giant had twisted it because of the 200 mph tornado winds we had in our backyard. Looters had stolen my mother’s wedding dress, pictures had flown away and family heirlooms were destroyed. It was a sight I thought I would never see. The National Guard was stationed in our neighborhood for weeks helping out along with the local police and other officials but the damage was so devastating that it took close to ten years to rebuild in some areas.

The damage done by Andrew was horrible, as was the damage done by these recent hurricanes this past summer, however, after losing a house, you come to realize something very important. You realize that your house and everything that is in it is just stuff. It can be replaced. Your family, however, cannot. Despite the damage done by Andrew, I am thankful that my family and loved ones made it. Just remember – as we say down in the sunshine state, “Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.”

Karina van der Plas

Class of 2006

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL

This year has been the worst year for hurricanes. My sister had to be in school Labor Day weekend but Frances had a different plan. My mom and sister had to go up to Boston College that Friday, but of course their flight was cancelled. My family was without power for 2 days, which included the air conditioning, and my mom and sister could not leave until Sunday afternoon. Everything around the house was okay because we are not in a flood zone, but my mom and sister had to make a mad dash to Boston and move her in before school started on Tuesday. My brother, filled with boredom, was barely able to escape to Westin one day, which is 40 minutes west of where we live, because his friend had air conditioning and power. Overall, all my family was safe and hopefully there will be no more hurricanes this year. There has been too much destruction this year that will take many months to fix.