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Belmont Floridian students prepare for Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma — the Category 4 hurricane that has already claimed 20 lives in the Caribbean — is expected to hit Florida by early Sunday morning.

In the last two years, 104 freshmen have come to Belmont from Florida. The Vision sat down with several Floridian students, who all discussed their concerns about the coming storm — especially after seeing the destruction Harvey caused in Texas.

“My town got evacuated this morning, but before my parents left they tried boarding up everything,” said sophomore Ragan Lineberger from Lakeland, Florida. “They ran out of supplies though, so my house wasn’t even all the way boarded up before they left.”

Lineberger also said that her family’s beach house in Indian Shores had to be left behind — just months after it was completed.

“It was my dad’s retirement gift. It took about two years to build,” she said. “Indian Shores had been evacuated a few days before, and my mom tried to get in to board it up, but they wouldn’t let her go in.”

“That’s most likely going to get destroyed.”

Senior Alyson Fiegle is from Palm Harbor, which is just outside of Tampa on Florida’s western coast. She’s worried about her family, who are planning on staying put through the storm, she said.

“Of course I’m worried about it, especially after what just happened in Texas, and Katrina years ago,” Fiegle said. “It’s kind of weird not being at home for it, because I don’t have to worry about it for myself — I’m obviously not going to get hit by the hurricane directly — but my home is down there, my family is down there, my cat is down there too.”

Fiegle said her mom has had a wait-and-see attitude toward Irma.

“She doesn’t want to be away from the house, like if it’s going to hit it, it’s going to hit it. She’d rather be there because maybe she could do something.’”

Sophomore Zach Sheinfeld is from Weston, Florida — just outside of Miami. He hasn’t seen a hurricane as big as Irma hit Florida in his lifetime.

“There hasn’t been a bad one like this in a long time. We haven’t been told to evacuate in a while. Not even for Wilma — they said it would be bad, but the worst hurricane we’ve had before was Andrew in 1994.”

Sheinfeld said he’s concerned for his relatives, most of which live on Florida’s western coast.

“It hopefully won’t be as bad, but I’m not sure. It’s still very risky.”

But like Texas, Fiegle said Florida’s coastal communities have a way of pulling together after a big storm.

“I think a lot of places along the coast are like that,” she said. “You know, weather’s going to hit you and it can really wreck you up, and so of course everybody’s really prepared to do what they can to help everybody and get people back up on their feet.”

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