As someone that survived Hurricane Matthew, hurricane preparedness is very important to me. My family was living in the Wilmington area at the time and I had a first-hand account of how the storm impacted our community.
My family moved to Greenville by the time Florence hit last year and we were lucky enough to not feel the impacts many residents of eastern North Carolina were forced to endure.
Hurricane Dorian made landfall as a Category 5 storm on the Bahamas Sunday and has hovered over the island for more than a day moving at 1 mph. The death toll of the storm has already reached five.
I worry about the safety of my classmates and residents of coastal and eastern North Carolina. The City of Greenville has been posting constant updates since Saturday of last week tracking the storm and warning citizens to prepare for the storm.
East Carolina University didn’t post their first update via a tweet about the storm until Sunday saying “Too soon to tell how #Dorian might affect #ECU + @GreenvilleNC, but we are continuing to monitor this hurricane closely + will update as soon as we have solid info.”
UNC Wilmington has been posting updates about hurricane Dorian since Thursday of last week and announced on Monday via Twitter that all classes after 5 p.m. on Tuesday would be canceled. In the current forecast, eastern North Carolina is still expected to feel the impacts of hurricane Dorian.
The ECU Alert sent out to students on Monday said campus can expect winds of 30-35 mph with gusts of 40-45 mph and 4-6 inches of rain. Most students don’t have all of their classes in one building so expecting them to walk from one building to the next in these conditions is absurd.
While Florence didn’t hit Greenville as bad as expected last year, we should still keep this storm on our radar.
Students without cars have to wait for parents or whoever can pick them to help them evacuate. If ECU makes the call too late, parents may not be able to pick their kids up before the storm hits.
Out of state students may be driving into the hurricane. Students need more time to prepare resources such as money and emergency supplies. They can evacuate from their home states but they also need time to do so. The last minutes notice to evacuate from Greenville is barely helpful to in-state students but can have severe impacts on out of state students.
Yesterday, Governor Roy Cooper briefed the public on hurricane preparedness. He discussed how the storm has picked up speed and citizens are running out of time to move to prepare for the storm. Cooper told citizens although it is inconvenient and costly to evacuate, it is important to save lives.
North Carolina may begin to feel the effects of Dorian by Wednesday but most definitely will be impacted by the storm on Thursday and Friday if it continues on its expected path.
ECU officials are running out of time to make a decision to evacuate students. They should take into account the governor's warning. Eastern North Carolina has felt the impacts of the past two hurricanes, Matthew and Florence and we cannot forget this. While it is difficult to predict the path of the hurricane at the moment, ECU should be doing more to keep students informed.
It's better to miss a few days of classes with no weather impacts than keep students here and make a last-minute call to cancel classes and evacuate campus.
My education is very important to me. I study hard and only miss class when I am sick. I do not want to miss classes but I will not be attending classes with 4-6 inches of rain and 30-35 mph of wind. My safety becomes more important than my education and I hope ECU recognizes that for all of its students.