The effects of Hurricane Irma spanned far and wide throughout Alabama and surrounding states, impacting the lives of Troy students and their families.
Whitney Bowers, a senior broadcast journalism major formerly from Melbourne, Florida, said that her family and friends in Brevard County, Florida, are still without power.
“My mom, who lives in Palm Bay (in Brevard County), still doesn’t have power,” Bowers said. “About 90 percent of my friends are still without electricity.”
According to a report by Florida Today, “as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, 130,390 of 307,600 Florida Power & Light customers were without power.”
Bowers said she has a cousin in Jacksonville, Florida, whose car was crushed by a tree during the storm. A family member in Miami, who chose not to evacuate, is without cell service, but is said to be OK.
Bowers, a current resident of Troy, said that she did not experience any power outages or damage during the storm.
“We (Bowers and her husband) pretty much just stayed inside all day (Monday),” Bowers said. “We kept a close eye on the weather to determine if we would have needed to take shelter elsewhere.”
For someone who was familiar with hurricane evacuations and Florida weather, Bowers said the effects of Irma were not surprising.
“Every storm is different, and you never know what will happen or what the aftermath will be,” Bowers said. “With Irma, I expected damages, but didn’t quite know what kind.
“I really wasn’t very surprised at the structural damages and inconveniences that resulted.”
For Natalie Brown, a senior accounting major from Roanoke, the weather forecasts were worse in Lee County, where her family resides, than in Pike County, so she chose to stay in Troy.
“My family actually was not without power, but a lot of people back home were without power for a very long time,” Brown said. “We were just very blessed and were some of the few who did have power.”
According to a report by Auburn-Opelika News on Tuesday, “at the peak of power outage, 7,700 Lee County Alabama Power customers did not have service.”
Brown said even though her family did not lose power, the aftermath of Irma required maintenance on their land due to wind and debris destruction.
“My family worked all day (Tuesday) removing trees from fences and repairing them so our cows and horses would not get out,” Brown said.
Brittany Johnson, a senior psychology major from Wetumpka and resident of one of Troy’s mobile home parks, said that she experienced minimal effects from the storm.
“We lost power for an hour or less, and we’ve got a good bit of branches in our yard,” Johnson said. “I can’t complain, though, considering so many people lost everything they own, and others even lost their lives to the hurricane.
“I’m very grateful the impact in Troy was minimal, but you can’t forget about the families that lost so much.”