On Sept. 24, Florida governor Ron Desantis declared a state of emergency, before Hurricane Ian made landfall on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
Ian is now regarded as one of the most powerful storms on record in the U.S. If measured by wind speed, it is considered the fifth-strongest storm on record.
Ian was deemed a Category 4 storm by the National Weather Service when it hit the U.S. at Florida’s southwest coast, with devastating winds that blew up to 150 mph. By the end of the day, much of the state was swamped, and nearly 2.5 million Floridans lost electricity in their homes and businesses.
Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Naples were among the Floridan cities heavily impacted by Ian.
As reported by WPBF, Ian touched down again in Georgetown, S.C., on Friday, Sept. 30, as a Category 1 hurricane, moving inland until it died down over southern Virginia the next day.
According to CNN, as of now, there have been 115 confirmed casualties as a result of Hurricane Ian. Residents of high-impact cities are now left to comb through what is left of their communities.
While Birmingham felt no direct effects of Hurricane Ian, many Samford students with hometowns in Florida and other affected states felt anxiety for friends and family facing the inclement weather.
Katie Sparks, upperclassman from Tampa, expressed her concern.
“The storm was scary for me, because it was supposed to be a direct hit on the Tampa Bay area,” Sparks said. “I live on an island, so I felt that this storm was going to damage the area where I am from.”
Freshman Sophia Revis also has family in Florida, in both Fort Lauderdale and Sarasota.
“They are safe, putting up storm shutters, and they were advised to evacuate but it’s not mandatory because they’re not on the water so they are staying home,” Revis said.
On Friday, Assistant Vice President for Student Development and Support, Dr. April L. Robinson, reached out to students potentially affected by the storm via email. She asked them to keep the Samford CARE Team posted on their families and communities back home, and offered support to those in need.
Note: Some information may be slightly different than what was written at press-time.