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Belmont community prepares for Hurricane Dorian

With Hurricane Dorian expected to make landfall in Florida Sunday, Belmont prepares to support students left in the wake.

“It can be challenging. We’re in Nashville, they’re in Florida,” said University Provost Dr. Thomas Burns. “Sometimes it’s offering prayer, sometimes we might have somebody that we know in that area who is working with a church or another service organization providing support.”

Around 300 Belmont students are from Florida, said Mary Lucus, Director of Institutional Research.

While they may not be in the direct line of the storm, students and their families can still be affected.

“If I were to go this weekend I wouldn’t be able to come back. All of the flights on Monday were canceled,” said Kalli Harshman, a sophomore commercial voice major with Labor Day plans back home in Sebring, Florida.

For students staying near Belmont during the weather event, all there is to do is wait — it’s a different story, though, for those weathering the storm firsthand, such as Belmont alumnus Jake Steele.

After boarding up the windows on his parents’ home in Ormond Beach, Steele made sure to pick up the essentials.

“I made sure to stop somewhere and grab some water, first aid supplies, batteries and flashlights,” said Steele. “I tried to get water from Publix Thursday night. They were just completely sold out of everything but LaCroix.”

Florida natives are used to heavy squalls of rain and storms ripping through the state, though the weather projections on TV may shock viewers.

“We’ve had a lot of bad hurricanes,” said Alex West, a sophomore songwriting major from Orlando, Florida. “We’ve had trees fall into our roofs. There’s not much you can do about that with hurricanes, you just kind of have to hope for the best.”

Dorian is expected to be a Category 3 hurricane with wind speeds ranging from 111 mph to 155 mph, and is projected to make landfall “close to between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Sunday,” said Faith Borden, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

With weather this extreme, the university is ready to support its students the best it can.

“Our goal is to try to be as helpful and supportive as we can be,” said Burns. “The reality is that if somebody needs our help or support, just let us know.”

This article written by Justin Wagner and Lydia Fletcher. Photo courtesy of National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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