(CU Independent illustration/Kelly Kaoudis)
The East Coast is recovering from Hurricane Irene, and the impact reaches far beyond the northeast.
As of Monday, Hurricane Irene caused damage to the eastern seaboard, running through 11 states and causing between $7 billion and $13 billion in damage, and claiming at least 38 lives, according to the Associated Press.
While Irene’s scope was limited to the northeast, the hurricane effected CU students with connections to the area.
Kylie Craig, a 19-year-old sophomore chemistry major, is currently stranded in Killington, Vt after floods have extended her weekend vacation.
“I flew home for my sister’s wedding, expecting to fly back to Colorado on Sunday,” Craig said. “The hurricane came and all of the flights were cancelled, and now I can’t even get back to the airport.”
Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said in a press release that the flooding was the worst the state had seen in over a century. Irene left up to 11 inches of water in parts of Vermont —causing extensive damage and making travel on the roads impossible for many residents, according to the Associated Press.
“In both directions of the road, they are completely washed away,” Craig said. “It’s like no road exists.”
Craig said that in Killington, the roads are impassible and the airports in the area are closed. She said the earliest that she can get back to CU is this Friday.
“It’s stressing me out because I’m missing an entire week of school,” she said. “And my professors expect me to just ‘keep up with my reading’ while I’m stuck out here.”
Jeffrey Egner, a 21-year-old senior sociology major, whose hometown is Norwich, Vermont, said that his family got a taste of Hurricane Irene.
“My parents live up on a hill, so they weren’t really worried about the house being flooded, but I saw pictures of the road at the bottom of where my parents live, and it was closed off in sections,” Egner said. “My parents were really worried about the road being washed out since it doesn’t do well with wet weather.”
Egner said that despite the rain, his family didn’t lose power.
“The local paper in our hometown was unable to publish today,” Egner said. “They said they would try to get it out later in the day, but my parents didn’t get their daily paper.”
Meanwhile, in New York City the subway was forced to shut down until at least Monday. Hundreds of thousands of residents were evacuated as a precaution.
Joey Maestas, a 22-year-old graduate student at Columbia University in Manhattan said that the city was virtually at a standstill in preparation for Irene.
“I have never seen New York so quiet this past weekend,” Maestas said. “Everything was shut down Saturday and Sunday.”
Maestas and other New Yorkers found their daily rountine interrupted by the weather.
“Every shop and restaurant was bordered up and had signs telling customers they were closed until Monday due to the upcoming hurricane,” Maestas said. “I couldn’t even get my Starbucks coffee because it was closed.”
Though the hurricane was not as strong as anticipated, the damages to the city were evident, Maestas said.
“The wind did blow over trees on our street — destroying cars and some places were badly flooded,” Maestas said. “Our power was just restored this afternoon but we were without power for almost two days.”
Maestas said that he, along with other residents, had to take other modes of transportation for the daily commute because the subways were shut down.
“I had to end up taking a taxi to school this morning because the subway was not fully operational,” Maestas said.
Mary Friedrichs, Director of the Office of Victim Assistance, said that for students or affilaites of CU, the OVA provides support for those who may have been affected by this natural disaster.
“Tomorrow morning we will be sending out an email to students from area-specific states, especially those on the coastline,” Friedrichs said. “Students from North Carolina, Vermont, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Virginia will receive the message. We want to let those students know that we are here for them if they need any kind or service, whether it be in victim assistance of psychological.”
To contact the Office of Victim Assistance, visit the office’s website.
Contact CU Independent News Editors Lauren Archuletta and Nora Keating at Lauren.Archuletta@Colorado.edu and Nora.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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