Cory William Berlekamp
On Sept. 14, Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas with less power than initially expected and though the storm has passed massive flooding wreaked havoc all over the region.
This disaster comes just a few weeks after the 11 anniversary of the flooding that Findlay experienced in August of 2007. The 2007 and 2008 floods in Findlay caused up to $100 million in damages according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to Moody’s Analytics, the flood damage in the Carolina’s is expected to be between $38 to $50 billion.
Seeing the devastation makes David Emsweller, Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Findlay, remembers when the flooding came to Findlay. According to Emsweller, he has been here for all of the flooding in Findlay since then and his neighborhood was cut off completely during the 2007 floods.
“We were stuck in the neighborhood for three days and we couldn’t get out at all because the water completely surrounded the development,” said Emsweller. “I can definitely empathize (with Florence victims). Just remembering the clean up each time, we had a lot of friends who had lost a lot of things and you just don’t really forget that in terms of seeing all of the damage and destruction.”
To him, it was also the smell of the flood that “just didn’t seem to go away” and what the victims are going through is just “horrendous”.
Kyle Adams, a TA at the University of Findlay while finishing up his master’s degree, was a meteorologist on television for 10 years in Lima, Ohio. The 2007 Findlay floods was one of the first stories he covered.
“That was my first introduction on how real these things can be because up until that point I had just covered your day-to-day weather on television,” said Adams. “When I physically came up to Findlay and Ottawa and saw how bad things could be when the Blanchard River flooded, that was the point in my career where I realized that what I was doing on television is tangible in real life and this is how it impacts people.”
After seeing that, Adams says that this is when he really started to take bad weather seriously. In his opinion, flooding is the most devastating natural disaster there is. According to Adams, people do not necessarily listen the warnings of flooding because one cannot see it happening immediately like a tornado or a hurricane.
“Flooding, especially flash flooding, is the worst because the power of rushing water,” said Adams. “High winds can be bad because of debris and trees falling over but flooding typically has longer lasting effects.”
A UF update was sent out by Emsweller informing anyone who wanted to help could donate at the blood at the Red Cross and if anyone who had family in the regions affected could go to Counseling Center or the Oiler Success Center for support. In the next month though, he would like to see something on campus put together for the victims of Florence.
“I want to see in the next couple of weeks here if there are some ideas that some (campus) organizations have,” said Emsweller. “But I also know that you have to make sure what is provided is needed as well because sometimes people want to send or do things that, for the responders, is not as helpful.”
Emsweller stated that he is looking for targeted fundraising and things of that nature so that what is raised can directly benefit the victims of Florence.
If anyone is looking to help immediately they can visit United Way’s page http://www.liveunitedhancockcounty.org/give and mention Florence in the comments or visit the Red Cross’ page at https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-florence-donations.html/.