Our hearts go out to the millions of people impacted by the potentially disastrous beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season. Most notably, the millions of residents of North and South Carolina, as well as portions of Georgia and Florida, who are sitting directly in the path of a hurricane that has been a consistent Category 4 for the last few days and has approached Category 5 status.
The whole southeastern and mid-Atlantic seaboard have been at heightened alert this September 2018 week. This is traditionally the time of year when high schools and colleges are celebrating their homecoming seasons, welcoming back alumni, hosting high-profile football games and holding their first semi-formal dances of the year.
Now, young men and women who had been focused on finding the perfect semiformal homecoming dress or the ideal suit are worried about far more serious and unnerving issues as they await landfall and the ultimate path of what promises to be only the first of numerous powerful and destructive hurricanes this season.
It’s hard to underestimate the emotional and practical toll that this takes on our youth as well as our educational institutions. Forbes acknowledged the latter in its article about the financial impact that postponing or canceling college homecoming games will have this season – which will have a ripple effect on the families whose livelihoods are tied to that segment of the economy.
With both colleges and high schools from Virginia to South Carolina canceling classes and all school activities in anticipation of landfall, thoughts of fancy hairstyles and makeup, dancing the night away and celebrating the beginning of a new school year will be replaced with concern over power outages, dwindling supplies and the long-term loss of power, potable water and other essential services. This reality is tough for the average adult to swallow, let alone younger folks sorting out feelings of disappointment while coping with fear and uncertainty all at the same time.
While we hold out hope that conditions will change and allow as many events to go on as planned so families can restore much-needed normalcy as quickly as possible, it’s clear that there will be those whose lives will change as the storm pushes on to land.
Our hearts are with the region’s youth who are getting a far-too-real lesson in life’s unpredictability this week, as well as their families and neighbors. We hope that forecasts will improve, that storms will lose power before claiming lives and property, and that the new week will bring immediate signs of recovery and normalcy for all of the impacted families and schools.
To all of our friends and loved ones in the path of Hurricane Florence, be safe! You are on our hearts and in our minds.