Deadliest Hurricane in 87 years Hits Florida

Story & Graphic by Abby Langle – Editor-in-Chief

Hurricane Ian is Florida’s deadliest hurricane since 1935. While this type of weather does not have an effect on us in Missouri, since we are far from any oceans, it has had an effect on people around us. Carrie Miller-Perry, science teacher, knows what it is like to know someone in the eye of the hurricane.

   Miller-Perry’s daughter goes to school at the University of Tampa. Early on in the hurricane, Tampa was said to get hit pretty bad. 

   “On September 24 we started getting worried, as it was projected to be a category 4 hurricane and my daughter’s apartment is in evacuation zone A, in Hillsborough County.  This means it is right by the water. It has the Hillsborough River on one side and Hillsborough Bay on the other.  With a storm surge of 10 feet (which was projected) her building’s entrance would be underwater,” Miller-Perry said. 

   She did what any worried mother would do and booked her daughter a flight home to get away from the hurricane. 

   “So, on Sunday morning I booked her a flight home for Monday.  Later that day, they canceled classes for the week at University of Tampa, and warned of forced evacuations.  Forced evacuations were put into place and everyone in zone A had to evacuate by noon on Monday.  Students who did not have a place to go could go to the Hillsborough County emergency shelters. Students were warned the shelters were crowded and uncomfortable.  Students flew home, went to friends’ houses in zone C or later in the alphabet, or went to hotel rooms (mostly in Orlando).  Zone B on Monday was issued mandatory evacuation orders,” Miller-Perry said. 

   The scary part was over but the wonder began if everything was okay and what the next steps are. 

   “Then the hurricane turned earlier than predicted and hit south of Tampa in the Fort Myers area. Tampa had an anti-storm surge where the bay and the Hillsborough River drained water.  Madi’s university was fine. On Thursday, UT sent out a message saying that dorms would reopen on Friday and classes would resume Monday.  Madi flew back on Sunday and said she saw little damage, but many areas had flash flood warnings,” Miller-Perry said. 

   While the people of Tampa escaped the bulk of the damage, those south in the Fort Myers area did not fair so well. The death toll so far stands at 117. Over 2.6 million people are without power. Clean-up will not take months, but years before things return to normal. But those affected by Ian don’t have to suffer alone. Donations from around the world have been in the tens of millions and charity organizations have mobilized to help the victims.