On Sept. 28, a tropical storm named Matthew barreled towards the Western Atlantic. It quickly gained strength and at its peak was a terrifying category five hurricane that tore through the Caribbean and the United States reaching north into North Carolina. According to The Associated Press, Goldman Sachs estimates that Hurricane Matthew caused about $10 billion in damages in the U.S. alone.
Hurricane Matthew brought back dark memories for many, labeled as one of the most powerful hurricanes in the last decade. It became clear that Matthew was going to make landfall like Katrina did just 11 years ago. “I just remember learning about what happened and still hearing about it now. It just seemed like it destroyed everything in it’s path, just complete destruction,” said Prep senior Jaryn Simpson.
Many were worried that this could happen again. Around 2.5 million people were told to evacuate their homes across the Eastern Coast.
On the fourth of October, Hurricane Matthew made landfall for the first time. It struck Haiti and the eastern part of Cuba. Haiti suffered the worst fate. Villages and towns were flattened and massive flooding across the island was apparent. The Bahamas was the next victim of Matthew’s unrelenting wrath as 135-145 mile-per-hour winds ripped apart the island, causing massive destruction. In total over 1,000 died in Haiti and cholera (an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine) has only made matters worse. Health officials are worried that an outbreak could cause even more devastation now that the hurricane is over due to the large amounts of contaminated water.
The now infamous hurricane barreled towards the eastern coast of the United States showing no sign of stopping. According to the NOAA, Matthew, “was expected to scrape the east coast of the Florida peninsula from about West Palm Beach to Jacksonville, then gradually turn to follow the curve of the coastline from Georgia to around Charleston, South Carolina before making its way back out to sea.”
Along with evacuations it prompted Walt Disney World to close, only the fourth time it’s done so since its opening in 1971. Also, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials closed down the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, with the looming certainty of Matthews
Hurricane Matthew only made one true landfall with the United States in McClellanville, South Carolina, as a weak Category 1 hurricane. When it struck in Florida, the eye of the storm was a few miles off coast, but it still caused intense damage.
Residents weren’t the only ones worried. “My grandma was in Miami and she wasn’t able to evacuate without help,” said junior Trent Robison. “She waited it out, and I was really worried that something terrible could happen.”
Although many mandatory evacuations were helpful throughout four states, many did not leave. “I would find it hard to leave my home for a storm, but at some point you have to realize it could be life or death and it’s just not worth it to stay,” commented Andrew Wagner.
On Oct. 9 the forceful winds and heavy rain began lighten up. The hurricane subsided and was now categorized as a tropical storm off of the coast of South Carolina. Massive rainfall struck North Carolina later catching many residents off guard. Extreme flooding stranded over 900 across the state. Throughout the United States 92 have died in wake of Hurricane Matthew. Many have lost their homes, cars, and livelihoods as million more are left without power. Emergency crews have started the clean up process and are looking forward to clearer skies.