Hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires bring devastation

Michael Riggi , Managing Editor

Even as three major hurricanes, one devastating earthquake, and massive wildfires plague North America in the span of only a few weeks, the worst is yet to come.
With such considerable devastation due to these various natural phenomena, billions of dollars of damage and repairs await when the dust settles in areas such as Texas, Florida, Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, and many Caribbean Islands.
This unusual chain of natural phenomena began to gradually grow over the summer, but ultimately culminated at its peak of devastation on August 25, 2017. A date that will live in infamy for the millions of people, rescue crews, and cities caught in the effects of the devastating category four hurricane over Texas, Hurricane Harvey has reaped approximately $150 billion in damage over Texas.
Unparalleled in its might over Texas with top-recorded winds of 132 mph and 51.88 inches of rain over several days in areas such as Port Aransas, Hurricane Harvey has resulted in at least 72 deaths and has destroyed more than 210,700 homes.
Hurricane Harvey ranks among the most devastating hurricanes in the country to date and is being closely followed by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose, two additional massive hurricanes making landfall in the coming days.
Hurricane Irma—which as of publication has already hurdled through Barbados and the Bahamas—has left the islands in ruin and killed at least 25 people thus far. Plummeting through the Atlantic and into lower Florida with sustained winds of 185 mph, the worst of the storm remains to be seen.
According to the Red Cross at least 1.2 million people have been affected by Irma, and a state of emergency was officially declared for Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia. Areas not directly on Irma’s path of destruction have felt its devastating effects as well, as many West Palm Beach residents on Florida’s east coast felt the strong winds of the storm and even lost power at 6:00 AM Sunday morning.
“I’ve never experienced a storm like this in all of my 15 years living in Florida,” a Fort Myers resident posted on Facebook. “We have been without power since 4:00 P.M. [Sunday] and the worst is yet to come.”
Hurricane Jose, the final of the three devastating hurricanes predicted to hit North America, has currently steered off path and deemed unpredictable. With maximum sustained winds of 120 mph as of now, this Category 3 storm will be the third massive hurricane in the span of just three weeks to make landfall near or in the United States.
As the south continues to get battered by natural forces of destruction, the pacific northwest remains engulfed in flames as wildfires rage on in a record-breaking devastating season. According to the Associated Press, 9 firefighters have passed away and 35 have been injured since the beginning of 2017, as upwards of 26,000 firefighters in the west battle against the (more than) 8 million acres burned across the region.
The Massapequa community can empathize with the struggles of those living in Texas and the other affected areas. Hurricane Sandy pillaged through Long Island in 2012, with winds reaching speeds which devastated the area. Similar to the response before Harvey, many Massapequans did not evacuate the area because Long Island had not seen a storm of such magnitude in the recent past.
In response to these devastating weather phenomena Massapequa has decided to lend their support to other parts of the country and beyond through the form of aid. The Massapequa Lions Club is continuing to accepting donations for Hurricane Harvey relief funds at the Massapequa Cop Shop on Broadway Ave. In addition, Mr. DiClemente and other staff members are organizing fundraising events with students to help those recovering from hurricanes in the South. For instance, the Chiefs Challenge club sold gum at Back to School Night to support relief efforts.
In addition to three hurricanes and widespread forest fires, a massive 8.1 magnitude earthquake off the southern coast of Mexico shook cities and towns as the strongest earthquake to hit the country in 100 years. With the death toll continually rising and currently sitting at 90 people, many inhabitants of cities such as Juchitan remain on edge with aftershocks and the crumbling structures of buildings continuing to consume the landscape of the country.
More than $320 million has been donated to affect those damaged by Hurricane Harvey, and groups such as the Red Cross will surely continue to raise money for those in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Jose. Fortunately, fire-fighters also continue to contain wildfires across the west as the season comes closer to an end, while various sources have offered aid to Mexico as they start to rebuild.
Sometimes it is the worst of times in which the good in humanity truly prevails, as nation-wide donations and the aid of the National Guard (among others) have helped to start heal many of the areas affected.
On the heels of Hurricane Irma and with Hurricane Jose looming by, the country is keeping a close watch as to what the future entails.

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