Hurricane Irma experiences differ widely

By: Jelah M. Anderson, Alexis Bookman, Angel S. Chedikah, Ashley Craig, Jasminn T. Dow and Samantha Grant ​
Sep 18, 2017
PANTHER fall 2017 hurricane irma

Students cheered the Sept. 7 Matriculation Day announcement that Claflin University would close because of the threat of Hurricane Irma.

While the big storm spared much of South Carolina, it left thousands upon thousands of people from the Caribbean through Florida and into other Southern states with no reason to be cheerful.

The Claflin closure lasted from 5 p.m. Sept. 7 through Sept. 12, during which time the university monitored weather conditions to determine when to reopen.

Junior KaDera Gilliam had praise for the university. “Claflin did a really good job with keeping us updated with the storm,” she said.

Florence native Rosalyn Gray said the forecast about Irma had her scared.

 “Being that no one really knows the destruction a hurricane can do until after the fact … getting to safety and preparing before the inevitable happens is better,” she said.

Shadẽ Young agreed about fear but said the media hyped up Hurricane Irma for South Carolina way too much.

“I was scared but I think the media should not have brought so much attention on how forceful it would be to South Carolina,” Young said.  “I am happy that classes were suspended but I know the main thing was to keep us all safe and I am glad Claflin cares.”

“Moving forward I hope our country continues to help those in need. And I pray that Hurricane Jose will die down so we will not witness anymore mishaps,” Young said.

But danger was very real for some.

Perriece Ledbetter from Savannah, Georgia, had to evacuate his home before the hurricane hit. "There was so much flooding that we could not stay at the house. I actually came back to Claflin early because it was safer to be here than my actual home."

Briana Mole, a Claflin senior, went to stay with family in Atlanta.

“My family and I had the same plan for Matthew and stayed in the same place,” Mole said. “My family’s property did not see much damage but the surrounding area had trees down and there was some flooding. My grandmother (was) without power for three days but is OK.”

Other student experiences varied:

  • Rozell Nuttry from Hopkins was mostly affected by the wind that came with the hurricane. "The wind knocked down trees in my area, which was a lot for me. The trees did not affect me that bad, but people had to come move them.”
  • Janya Williams, a senior from Sumter, went home to wait out the hurricane. She did not face a power outage.

    “A few trees fell on my property,” Williams said. She didn’t face any challenges getting back on campus.

  • “The storm did not do much damage to my house, but we were without power for three hours,” sophomore Samuel Mobley said.

  • “Family members from Georgia had to stay with us during the storm,” Mobley said. “They did not lose anything important.”

  • Senior Jessica Moize said, “Traffic was terrible, many accidents were along I-26 when I was returning to school. We also were without power.”
  • “I couldn’t come back on campus on time because my family car was flooded,” Shayla Holmes said. “Mostly my back yard was flooded and I had no lights for a couple of hours.”
  • "Irma impacted us more than I thought. No one expected it to be that bad," Shakeal Paul, a senior English major from Anderson.
  • "In my city, we just got rain and storm," Jamiya Mckelvy, a freshman sociology major from Marion County.

Section Navigation
Support the next generation of Claflin Leaders
Your support provides educational enrichment through student scholarships, loan funds, instructional classroom equipment, preparing Claflin's students to be leaders of the future.