Coral Shores Students Witness Irma’s Wrath

Some Stayed Behind

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Coral Shores Students Witness Irma’s Wrath

A tree lays on a house on Bee Street near Coral Shores after the powerful Hurricane Irma knocked it over.

A tree lays on a house on Bee Street near Coral Shores after the powerful Hurricane Irma knocked it over.

Contributed

A tree lays on a house on Bee Street near Coral Shores after the powerful Hurricane Irma knocked it over.

Contributed

Contributed

A tree lays on a house on Bee Street near Coral Shores after the powerful Hurricane Irma knocked it over.

Kyla Catarineau, Editor

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“All I heard was the wind pounding on the shutters; I was super anxious to go outside to see the damage I knew there would be, and the devastation we would soon come to know,” Coral Shores High School sophomore Madeline Chilton said.

In the early morning on Sunday, Sept. 10 the Category 4 Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys, and some students’ families decided to ride out the storm. Those Coral Shores students included Chilton, sophomore Niomi Garcia; juniors Draven Tucker, Dylan Scheu, Jonathon Rroshi, and Sean Platt; and senior Destiny Ruiz.

Hurricane Irma caused a mandatory evacuation in the Keys as it was expected to hit the Florida Keys with 120 mile-per-hour (mph) winds and cause storm surges from 6-12 feet high, and it did in places.

Though the idea of being hit by that large of storm did scare her, Chilton and her family stayed put in Key Largo and rode out the storm.

“The whole idea of this happening was nerve-wracking,” Chilton said.

Javier Exposito
Waves begin to spill over the road as Hurricane Irma approaches the Keys.

Garcia described waiting out the storm almost identically to Chilton.

“It was terrifying listening to the wind hit the shutters and imagining what it would look like after the hurricane,” Garcia said.

After the worst of the storm was over, families became worried about the storm surges they were warned about.

“I was at the end of Key Largo, and I kept looking outside to see how much water had risen, but it still hadn’t, which concerned me and my family and had us wondering how bad the surge would be,” Chilton said.

After the storm hit, the Florida Keys faced mass devastation; not only were 25 percent of homes destroyed, but there were 12 fatalities in the Lower Keys where the eye struck, according to a CNN report.

“Many parts of the Keys are unrecognizable,” Karli Richards, a sophomore, said after returning home from evacuating.

Contributed
Trees and debris spill over into a pool and backyard of a home near Coral Shores in Tavernier.

After emerging from her home once the hurricane passed, Garcia said, “I was sad to see that the Keys were hit so hard and that many people either lost their houses or had a lot of damage to them.”

For now, Florida Keys residents plan to continue cleaning up and rebuilding what was lost in this natural disaster in the hopes that their home will once again be recognizable.

“It’s pretty depressing to come home and see how badly our home was destroyed, but we can only hope that with time our community will grow back into what it was before,” Lovell said after witnessing, firsthand, the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.

 

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