POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. — At first, the thought of a hurricane hitting the southern half of Florida doesn’t seem to cause for concern or dread to those attending Marist College. Unless you have residences and family there like students Miguel Basalo and David Cantu.
“Didn’t think it was that bad till I saw the news and the weather radar,” said Cantu. Cantu a junior and member of the Men’s Swimming and Diving team at Marist College who also has a sister at Marist College did not keep track of Hurricane Irma until his family was directly affected. Cantu and his family live in the town Davie, Florida.
He was lucky to have none of his three other siblings affected however, he was concerned for his parents well-being. “ I called and contacted them immediately about the hurricane,” said Cantu.
He learned from his family that the worst damage was done to some of their trees in their front lawn, and power was lost for over 24 hours. “ The hurricane shifted to the west, which gave me some relief,” said Cantu.
This hurricane disaster caused widespread damage, flooding, and power outages to many counties in southern Florida. It came to Cantu’s attention that the worst of the hurricane may have passed by, yet there was still cause for worry towards his family.
“My parents tried to evacuate, but there were no gas stations open or functional,” said Cantu. This situation was the most obnoxious due to his family trying to leave and find a safer location to go, however relocating far was not the immediate option. Eventually, his family had to find a hotel outside of the Miami area, and wait out the worst of Hurricane Irma.
Through it all, the constant contact and reassurance that everything and everyone was going to be okay was the prime concern for Cantu.
“Tracking the storm was not easy and finding out about my family was a priority,” said Basalo. Basalo is also a junior and member of the Men’s Swimming and Diving team at Marist College. Dealing with the reality of being in a different state far away from his family, while a turbulent storm surges was strenuous.
“It was the first time away from family during a hurricane, I was conflicted by the wave of the storm and being here at school,” said Basalo. He’s been through a couple of hurricane’s while living in the city Doral, Florida, but not to the magnitude and proximity of Hurricane Irma.
Fortunately, the damage was not much worse than Cantu’s. “We just had a few broken trees, would’ve been a lot worse,” said Basalo.
With Hurricane Irma looming through southwest Florida, Basalo was able to sustain contact with his mom, dad, and brother knowing they were doing well.
“My family evacuated to Gainesville, from Miami,” said Basalo. That move is about 5 hours apart. This was necessary because they had to establish a safer living place than their residence in Doral, FL.
“You feel really blessed for your circumstances,” said Basalo. Towards the end of the week and with the news of Hurricane Irma moving west and away from his family, Basalo was less distraught about the whole event.
David Cantu: firstname.lastname@example.org
Miguel Basalo: email@example.com