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UA Graduate Outlasts Florida Hurricane

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A week after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on Houston, Hurricane Irma battered Florida over the weekend of Sept. 9-10, forcing one former UA student to endure the storm.

Moriah Senteney, a 2017 UA graduate who moved to Florida on Aug. 7, prepared for the ensuing storm days before it hit her apartment complex in Lake Buena Vista on Sept. 11.

Senteney spent $80 on nonperishable foods and took out $50 cash from the bank as part of her preparation for the hurricane, she said. She and her six roommates also took the box springs from their beds and covered the windows in their apartment with them before they rode out the storm in their living room.

She did not leave her apartment for almost three days.

“It was a lot of anticipation,” Senteney said. “I’m still confused as to what happened because they were saying it was going to be really loud and really windy. It definitely was loud and windy through the night, but when they were saying the worst part was hitting us, there were other points in the night that were louder than it was then...we were kind of unsure why we weren’t affected the way we expected to be, but there was a lot of anticipation.”

The hurricane did little damage around her apartment complex. Only a few branches and shutters were torn down.

Senteney received numerous calls and texts from friends and family, and she kept people updated of her situation through Facebook updates and Snapchat posts.

“I was glad people were thinking about me and praying for me,” Senteney said. “I definitely appreciated it.”

There are no plans by UA officials to provide any relief care as of right now, but the best way for students and faculty to help the people affected by Hurricane Irma is to donate blood or give money, said Steve Voorhies, manager for Media Relations.

Voorhies warned students and faculty to avoid traveling to Florida if they are not qualified to help in a natural disaster.

“Don’t try to go if you are not a trained responder until they ask for people to come and help,” Voorhies said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has downgraded Irma to a tropical depression, which means it has wind speeds less than 39 mph. The storm is moving northwest through Alabama and Tennessee as of Sept. 12 but is expected to dissipate in three days, according to the administration’s website.

The UofA had 173 students from Florida enrolled last year, Voorhies said. Final counts for this year are unavailable at this time.

Alex Nicoll was the editor-in-chief of the Arkansas Traveler from 2017-2019. Before that, Alex was a sport designer, and he wrote stories for the news, lifestyles and sports sections.

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