As tropical storm Florence moves through the Carolinas, many Belmont students are anxiously watching to see how the storm will affect their homes and loved ones.
The storm made landfall near Wilmington, South Carolina, on Friday morning and has since moved northeast into North Carolina and Virginia, with rampant flooding and winds creating extremely dangerous conditions.
For Belmont students from the area, one of the hardest things is the waiting, said senior Abbie Nixon, a Holden Beach, North Carolina, native.
“It’s hard to sit back and watch everything unfold knowing there’s nothing you can do,” Nixon said. “Watching the news and seeing my hometown in the headline is surreal, because while I’ve been through many hurricanes, I’ve never seen North Carolinians react like this.”
While many storms come through North Carolina, Florence is particularly alarming, but Nixon is confident that her town will be able to recover, she said.
“You go through so many hurricanes that don’t do a ton of damage, and you forget how bad these storms have the potential to be. While I am worried, I know my hometown will come together and restore our beach because the residents there have so much love for our town.”
Nixon plans to go home as soon as she can to help with the restoration efforts, she said.
Freshman Garrett Arwood, from Clemson, South Carolina, worries that Florence may leave his hometown devastated in the same way that Hurricane Irma did last September.
“If there’s anything I’m concerned about, it’s the well-being of my loved ones,” Arwood said. “I think with Irma, a lot of things happened – there were trees down, there was debris in the road due to the winds and heavy rain, there was a high risk of driving in that sort of weather.”
On Friday, Provost Dr. Thomas Burns issued a statement to the Belmont community, noting that students are not alone during times like this.
“Our thoughts and prayers remain with all those who are suffering as a result of Hurricane Florence. We wish everyone safety and peace as we face the aftermath of this situation as One Belmont.”
Burns also provided direction to those seeking help at this time.
Students whose loved ones are affected by the storm should reach out to the Office of Student Affairs at (615) 460-6407 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those feeling any emotional duress at this time can contact Belmont’s Counseling Services through www.belmont.edu/counseling/ or at (615) 460-6856.
If you would like to assist those currently being affected, donations are being accepted by relief efforts such as One SC, The Red Cross and The Diaper Bank of North Carolina.
This article written by Justin Wagner.