Courtesy of MCT
The extreme wind and rain from Tropical Storm Isaac will not reach Ohio, but that does not mean Ohio State students are exempt from worry. Instead of filling sandbags and boarding up their windows, students with family in the Gulf-area must brace for Isaac by calling their loved ones and tracking the storm.
Allie West, a fourth-year in speech and hearing sciences, has an aunt and uncle who recently moved to Alabama to start a business. West said her family is worried about how the hurricane will pan out despite their best preparation efforts.
“I have been watching the radar all day and it definitely isn’t shying away from my family.” West said. “Nothing to do but keep them in my thoughts and wait I suppose.”
Ambria Carpenter, a second-year in psychology, also has family in Alabama. She said recent natural disasters have been detrimental to her family’s region.
“They feel like the Southern area is falling apart. After Katrina and after the recent stuff, it’s really hard for it to get back on its feet,” Carpenter said.
Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast in August 2005. According to the National Climatic Data Center, its winds reached 125 miles per hour during landfall, making it one of the strongest storms to hit the U.S. coast in 100 years. Louisiana and Mississippi were the principal states affected, and about 1,800 people died as a result of Katrina, according to CNN.
But according to the NCDC website, “the loss of life and property damage was worsened by breaks in the levees that separate New Orleans from surrounding lakes.”
New Orleans and surrounding areas still feel the effect of Katrina seven years later, but Carpenter is confident the Gulf Coast will remain strong.
“It’s the type of community that really helps each other out,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter also said her immediate family moved out of Alabama and into Indiana in large part because of the storms.
“Sometimes I think you really just have to look out for yourself. So that’s why I relocated. We were just tired of natural disasters,” Carpenter said.
OSU students without ties to the Gulf Coast will still feel Isaac’s sting. Much of the nation’s oil production relies on the region so any damage or slowing of operations will put a burden on the entire system.
Steven Ross is a recent graduate from OSU’s chemical engineering program and is newly employed with Shell Oil in Mobile, Ala.
“We’ll have to ship in oil and gas prices will go up,” Ross said. “I know the refinery I’m working at will be affected.”
Ross said Shell’s Mobile refinery shut down on Tuesday to minimize hurricane damage.
Tropical Storm Isaac, which made its first landfall Tuesday evening, is projected to create winds up to 75 mph and dump a maximum of 15 inches of rain on the area during the next five days, according to the National Weather Service.
Director of OSU’s atmospheric sciences program, Jay Hobgood, said the hurricane could give Ohio a “chance for some much needed rain over this weekend, though with this holiday weekend it might disrupt people’s outdoor plans.”
For many students their “outdoor plans” include the first OSU football game of the season against Miami (OH) in Ohio Stadium.
Though the masses at The ‘Shoe might not appreciate the showers, Hobgood said the rest of Ohio is in some form of drought and could use the projected 2 to 4 inches of rain.
According to a report from Fox News, there have been 24 fatalities in Haiti and 5 in the Dominican Republic as a result of the storm. While fatalities along the Gulf Coast are unknown, Yahoo News reported that more than 730,000 homes and businesses in Louisiana were without power Wednesday afternoon.