Hurricane Irene Affects Students at PSHS

Dani Sureck, Staff Writer

     Hurricane Irene hit the East Coast late on Aug. 20, 2011. Causing seven states to affirm emergencies and taking the lives of at least eight individuals, Hurricane Irene has affected more than just those seven states. Although Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm, the damage hit most of the East Coast.

     With millions of people going without power for days, people in other parts of the world anxiously awaited news regarding damages to the coast and their family members that live in that part of the country. Some people on campus were affected by Hurricane Irene even though they were not physically in the storm.

     Senior Kelly Kraatz and her family paid close attention to the news to stay aware of the hurricane because she has family in the East Coast.

     “It hit my aunt, cousins, and uncle,” Kraatz said. “But thankfully their house did not get hit because they were not in the eye of the storm.”

     Maryland, where Kraatz’s family lives, was not hit as much as some other areas. This does not mean that damage had not been done.

     “The start of their school year was delayed and some department stores were destroyed,” Kraatz said.

     The effects of Hurricane Irene are still occurring. People are cleaning up ruined towns and cities and some were even forced to evacuate during the storm.

     “They’re just going about it like normal days. They’re just dealing with the rain because they have rain a lot.”

     Kraatz and her family are trying to help out her family in Maryland and those near them, and even thinking of ways to lend a hand to strangers in the area.

     “We could send stuff like clothing or food because places that have been destroyed need clothing or food or first-aid,” Kraatz said.

     Kraatz feels that by sending items to people that have been affected students could really make a difference. The homeless rates on the East Coast are rising and people are in need of food.

     Kraatz is not the only one thinking about close ones in the East Coast. Technical theater teacher Erin Stanley has family in that area.

     “My twin sister is in New York right now dancing,” Stanley said.

     Stanley’s sister dances with a professional dance group and was in New York City before the storm hit. Because New York was expected to be hit badly, Stanley’s sister evacuated to somewhere else in the state just to be safe. She even stocked up on food and supplies in case of an emergency where she was temporarily staying. To try and stay safe her sister moved in with a friend outside of the city for a few days.

     Stanley and her other family members began calling one another as soon as they heard any new news in regards to the hurricane.

     “I came home and found out from my mom, who found out from my grandma,” Stanley said. “And my dad was out of town, so we were just calling everywhere, and we just got nervous.”

     Stanley felt that with lots of theories about the storm from different news stations that it was hard to keep up with all of the emotions at times.

     “She’s been staying with friends, so we’ve been kind of worried about that because we don’t really know week to week where she needs to be.” Stanley said. “We’re thinking and hearing bits and pieces from the news and thinking ‘where exactly is it?’” Stanley said.

     North Carolina experienced major flooding and 85 mph winds along its coast. Senior Sara Kingman has family there and has been dealing with the stress of the uncertainty of what could happen next.

     “My uncle lost power for three days and there was flooding at his job site.” Kingman said. “We cried because of the fear of what might happen next.” Kingman said. “All we can give them are words of comfort and pray for them every night.”

     Kingman says how hard it has been to know what they are dealing with.

     For Stanley, her sister’s safety and the safety of those in that area as well was all that matters. Stanley said that by understanding that a lot of people were affected, sending support and awareness can make a difference.

     Stanley said she felt relieved when she was told that her sister would be evacuating from the city and was staying safe.

     “I’m so glad you’re okay.” Stanley said when she talked with her sister. “Eat all that food you got and share it as you can.”