Hurricanes Harvey and Irma impact CSU students’ families

Julia Trowbridge

Flood waters have risen into the Lakes on Eldridge North neighborhood near the Addicks Reservoir West Houston, Texas on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. Hurricane Harvey inundated the Houston area with several feet of rain. (Tom Fox/Dallas Morning News/TNS)

Although Hurricane Harvey’s course has ended, friends and family in the southern regions of America are still in danger of Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Harvey dropped 40 to 52 inches of rainfall in the southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana areas, according to the Weather Channel.

Ad

Although this hurricane happened much farther south than Fort Collins, some Colorado State University students were personally affected.

“My aunt and uncle are now without a home or cars, and they’ve lost most of their personal belongings,” said Taylor Robertson, a junior studying biology at CSU. “It’s been kind of hard, and it’s saddening that I can’t get there to help.”

According to Jason Gerlich, a junior studying watershed science, Texas has shown the world how people can set aside their differences in order to help those in need though the event has been catastrophic. 

“I think that there is no better representation of the spirit of our country than Texas,” said Gerlich, a native of Houston. “No matter how much people may be different or divided, anybody who could help did so.”

Gerlich feels that his home state represents the spirit of America.

“Texans and Americans showed up in force to help,” Gerlich said. “I think Texas showed the country two things: what 50 inches of water will do to a city, and that we are not as divided as people like to believe.”

Although Hurricane Harvey has passed, Hurricane Irma is making its way through Caribbean Islands and Florida. According to CNN, Hurricane Irma has caused fatalities, left islands in ruins and is expected to be a category 4 hurricane by the time it reaches the United States.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott stated that he had never seen anything like Hurricane Irma, and encouraged people to evacuate the state once given the news, according to The Washington Post.

“This is a deadly storm and our state has never seen anything like it,” Scott said at a news conference in Sarasota, according to The Washington Post.

The hurricane is now expected to hit the west coast of Florida, targeting the area along Tampa and Fort Myers, according to CNN.

Ad

According to Philip Klotzbach, a research scientist for CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Science, hurricanes originate as thunderstorm complexes in the mountains of Ethiopia. Some of these complexes travel across the ocean and intensify into hurricanes. Even though most of these complexes end up dying off if the conditions are right, natural phenomenons like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma still occur.

According to Klotzbach, in order for one of these thunderstorm complexes to become a hurricane, three conditions must exist: warm ocean water, weak vertical wind shear or a small difference in the direction of wind in the upper and lower atmosphere, and moisture in the air.

“These three ingredients aren’t always present,” Klotzbach said. “But, for Hurricane Irma, they’re all there. (Irma) is one of the most intense storms we’ve ever seen in the Atlantic of all time.”

According to Klotzbach, the force hurricanes produce poses a great danger to humans.

“Hurricanes are so powerful, it makes humans seem puny,” Klotzbach said. “It’s a monster entity. The amount of energy and mass it processes is mind boggling. It’s not something humans can match.”

Collegian reporter Julia Trowbridge can be reached at news@collegian.com or on twitter @chapin_jules.