Hurricane Irma swept through the south this weekend and eventually hit Florida on Sunday. Montclair State students and alumni in the Disney College Program shared their thoughts of being in the vicinity of a devastating storm.
“I had all the intentions of going [home] if I needed to,” said 24-year-old accounting alumnus, Danison Fronda, before the storm. “Most of my group of friends that are down here are native Floridians, and so my first thought was ‘Oh my gosh, this is gonna be so bad,’ and I did consider going up and that was pretty much still an option. I was planning on flying back to New Jersey if I got word that it was super bad by Friday. For the most part, everyone was pretty calming in the fact that everyone kept saying that we’re pretty inland. By the time Irma would hit, it wouldn’t be as bad.”
At the time, Fronda said the storm was supposed to hit at 5 p.m. on Sunday in his town, Celebration, Fla. He said there wasn’t a call for emergency evacuations in his area. The alumnus worked for the Disney College Program after graduating and was offered a full-time position this past February.
“I’ve done hurricane preparedness last year for Hurricane Matthew and I feel that because of that, I was a bit more calm in terms of the situation now,” said Fronda.
It has been reported by CNN that Disney closed for two consecutive days, which has only happened six times in history.
“[I’ve] never been in a hurricane like this before so I wasn’t sure how to prepare,” said junior communications major Billy Ippolito.
Ippolito said he made sure to fill the bathtubs with water in case the plumbing stopped.
“Before the storm happened a lot of people were brushing it off,” said recent fashion studies graduate Savanna Sisco.
Sisco, who lives 15 minutes away from Disney, said she noticed the storm was bad from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.
“I was scared. The wind was insane,” said the 22-year-old merchandise cast member. “I’ve never seen wind this crazy. There were tornado warnings every ten minutes. We have a tree in the back of our window and it just kept banging on [the window]. I thought it was going to come through the window. It was crazy!”
Up to 15 million people were left without power in Florida according to The New York Times, but Sisco said she never lost power throughout the storm.
Danielle Caggiano, a recent mathematics graduate, said through Facebook Messenger that she boarded up her windows with cardboard boxes and got sandbags to block her door since she was on the ground level.