Malvern reacts after hurricanes hit Florida, Texas

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Hurricane Harvey struck the greater Houston area as a Category 4 hurricane in late August. Not long after, Hurricane Irma rolled through islands such as the US Virgin Islands before making landfall in Florida as another Category 4 storm.

On Wednesday, Sept. 27, Christian Service Coordinators announced that Houston would be a Christian Service destination for the class of 2019.

We spoke with members of the Malvern community who were affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, both directly and indirectly, as they struck Houston and the Florida Keys.

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Ryan Iacone ’19

“My family down in Florida was affected. They had to go and move up to Banner Elk, which is in North Carolina. We don’t know if their house is okay or not yet. They haven’t been able to go back yet. I hope it’s okay but you never know. They have to stay like three or four more days in Banner Elk before they can go back.”

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Mr. John Ostick, Economics Teacher

“Anytime you have destruction of capital resources or a reduction of people’s ability to work, you’re going to really have what we would say a decline of economic production and growth.  It really has a tremendous economic impact.  War kind of does the same thing.  To me, you can almost equate casualties from war with a hurricane having a similar outcome even though it’s a different scenario.”

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Mr. Matthew Boccuti, Science Teacher

“Harvey was weird in terms of its track. It wedged itself into the Gulf [of Mexico], which was really warm at the time, and then it sort of spun back on itself. It approached land and then backed off, picking up more and more water. So the wind speed, though it was high, wasn’t as high as an Irma. But it dumped a ton of water… They got more water than they ever would have expected in a whole year.”

“In Irma people died and we have a lot of damage, but it looks like we also got a bit lucky because the track didn’t stay over water. It hit land earlier, so it lost power more quickly. I think all things considered, we got lucky with what Irma could have been. Irma when it started was one of the most powerful hurricanes we’ve ever recorded coming out of the Atlantic, and when it hit the Caribbean islands that was massively devastating. I think we think pretty nationalistic. In the U.S. we seem to be ok, [but] there’s other people that’ve had tremendous impacts from this hurricane… If Irma was 15-30 miles to the west, we would be talking about something very different. It probably would have been the most devastating storm we’ve ever seen.”

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Jack Leyden ’18

“We were a little worried because my family has a condo in Naples that we recently renovated. Luckily, it wasn’t damaged. We had our friend go and check on it for us because we couldn’t make it down and couldn’t stand not knowing. That was after he waited for gas for five and a half hours. They went six days without electricity. No water. No ice.”

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Chase Bennett ’19

“We own a house down in Naples, Florida, and my grandparents live down in that house… My dad went down to visit my grandpa because he is in bad condition, but then it turned out this hurricane was coming. So then he stuck around because he had to prep for the hurricane. My dad’s still down there with my grandparents in Florida.”

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Sean Upadhyay ’19

“I was very concerned because [my grandparents] are right on the coast, and my parents told them to get out but they stayed, [and] were in their house the entire time. So it was scary. They were absolutely fine, there was no flooding or anything, so it was perfect for them. Their whole community was fine, but right outside of it…they lost power and it was bad, so they got lucky I guess.”

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Mike Stangis ’14 – senior at the University of Miami

“I didn’t really have much I could do considering the time crunch I had… A lot of students were worried because a lot of price-gouging was going on for airplane flights. There was a lot of panic around campus…All in all, we will miss about two and a half weeks.”

“I’m okay with them extending the school year because we paid for our education. I’m more okay with it, but there are people that are much more vocal and upset about it, people that had specific plans over Christmas and fall break.”

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Mrs. Tricia Hallinan P ’19

“With Hurricane Irma, there was a dire forecast in Naples, Florida. We thought that we would be five feet under water in our home along with everyone else in our area due to a storm surge that was predicted. Thank God that did not happen. We prayed a lot all day on Sunday. We feel as though our prayers were answered because the storm surge did not happen as predicted. No water got in our home or any of the homes in our immediate area in Naples. Some people that we know did have damage and got water in their homes that were several miles inland. One of those people is actually living in our home now. He and his family had to move out of their house because of their damage. They are going to be staying at our house for awhile. We have a generator that is working. We do not have power, but we do have a generator. They have air conditioning, lights, and everything that they need. We did sustain some damage to our fence and landscaping, but our house is totally fine, thank God.”

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