The Dolphin

Irma’s Impact

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Hurricane Season is upon us and Hurricane Irma is certainly one for the books. It has been named the strongest Atlantic basin hurricane ever recorded. But how does this massive storm affect us in Upstate New York?


A major impact is the amount of dispersed people staying in the northern states. I had a chance to talk to a University of Miami student, Emily Green, who was waiting out the storm here in Syracuse. She told me, thankfully, the university remained intact for the most part, experiencing only flooding, loss of power, and fallen trees. Unfortunately, that means classes won’t resume until September 25 adding up to a full three weeks off of school, which will cause many problems readjusting the rest of the academic semester.


Like Emily, this was many people’s first experience with a hurricane. When asked how difficult it was evacuating her school, I was surprised by the answer. She had quite a few obstacles in her way to even begin the process of leaving Miami. First of all, the few tickets available to fly out before the storm cost around $1,000. This prompted me to ask how her school handled this.


Shocked again, I was informed that it was mostly up to the students to find a way out on their own. There ended up being a total of about 130 students who live on campus and did not have anywhere to go, so the University moved them to community shelters. Lucky enough for Emily, she had a car on campus so she packed up what she could and left. Staying with a string of friends and family, she made her way to Georgia without running out of gas (a feat with the many gas shortages in Florida)  and was able to fly to Syracuse.  


Due to the politics in the recent news, I had to ask about her take on climate change and if it was the main reason for the hurricane. She responded saying “Yes. While I believe this hurricane would have still occurred, regardless of climate change, I believe climate change is the reason Hurricane Irma developed into such a strong storm and sustained such high wind speeds for so long. As temperatures rise, the temperature of the ocean rises too, which causes an increase in evaporation. More water vapor in the atmosphere fuels the storm, further lowering the pressure, and causing the storm to sustain its strength for larger durations. This leads to a greater number of category 4 and 5 storms, causing more destruction to towns and human lives. It is important that we recognize these effects now so that we can increase awareness and continue to establish efforts to prevent climate change from progressing. We must take action now before it is too late.”


Although some people may not see eye to eye on this issue it is worth the time to discuss and truly understand before taking a side. As for what Emily is up to now, she told me she would be volunteering in Key Largo to help Dolphins Plus, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping rescue marine mammals that have been stranded in areas around south Florida.

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Irma’s Impact