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The Destruction of Harvey and Irma

This year’s hurricane season is already one for the history books. As residents in Texas and Louisiana begin rebuilding their lives after Hurricane Harvey, those in the Caribbean are surveying the devastation from Irma while Floridians are evacuating in anticipation of a direct hit from the Category Five Hurricane.

As Irma forces residents from their homes in Florida and the state closes its schools, Houstonian Genyne Vinson and thousands of others in the nation’s fourth largest city are slowly returning to normal after Hurricane Harvey and its astonishing rainfall. Vinson and her 16-year-old daughter are reliving the hours they spent watching the water race for the windows of their apartment.

“It was extremely nerve-wracking just not knowing what to decide to do, ride it out or stay,” Vinson recalls.

Vinson says she eventually called the rescue number authorities had given. By that time, she and her daughter along with their pet could not safely leave their neighborhood and the flood waters had forced authorities to issue a mandatory order to evacuate.

Relieved, Vinson remembers the “Texas National Guard came at about 6:00 p.m. and picked up those that wanted to go.” They were taken to a hotel where other families were riding out the storm.

Fast-forward one week later, and the scene is being repeated in the wake of Irma. In the Caribbean, 10 people were killed and there are reports of “total carnage.” The massive storm is headed for Florida and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say Miami is in the “worst possible position.”

The storm could reach South Florida by Sunday. Governor Rick Scott is warning residents on both coasts to prepare to evacuate, saying “this is not a storm you can sit and wait out.” Mandatory evacuations have been issued for some counties in Florida. Fuel shortages and outages are expected with Governor Scott ordering state law enforcement to escort fuel trucks.

In Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal is ordering evacuations for those who live in Savannah and areas east of Interstate 95 starting on Saturday.

And, yet a third hurricane is brewing in the Atlantic. Forecasters are monitoring Jose with its 125 mph winds. Earlier today the National Hurricane Center designated Jose as a Category 3 storm located east-southeast of Antigua.

Meanwhile, back in Houston, Vinson is grateful for her safety, but she understands all too well the uncertainty now faced by those in the path of Hurricane Irma. “I will most remember not knowing what is going to happen and making the wrong decision.”

TheVillageCelebration is an online magazine dedicated to reporting stories that highlight the rich tradition of triumph, perseverance, and faith of African-Americans. Every day African-Americans are succeeding, living their dream, moving on up. And we want to share it with others. Welcome to TheVillageCelebration. Everyone likes a good story. Victory from defeat. Good over evil. Something from nothing. Problem is… we rarely read it, hear it, or see it. The news of the day records the American experience with a broad brush, painting a picture focused on that which dominates the daily landscape. The disasters, the politics, the wars. But look closely, life is being lived in and around these headlines.

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