Ali Iacono – Special To The Southern News –
It’s no secret that there was a hurricane last week and though it was a category one storm, it caused a lot of damage to say the least. People lost their homes, their memories and, for some, even their lives.
Fortunately, I was lucky enough to remain flood free, I never lost power and my home only suffered minor damage. Though my home was not greatly affected I know others’ homes suffered tremendously. So like the nosy person I am, I took my car out on a mini adventure post-hurricane to see what the rest of the world was like.
One word: devastation.
My home town of Milford was destroyed. Every street you turned down had trees lying on the ground, some even on houses. On one street I traveled down, one home had four telephone poles in its front yard. Debris and sand covered the roads by the beaches. Some roads I couldn’t even access because the flooding was still so severe. It was almost depressing how gloomy the town looked.
Hurricane Sandy changed lives with its destruction. It will take much time for people to recover from this tragic occurrence.
I received a text message on Oct. 30 at 1:04 pm notifying me that Southern’s campus would be reopening Oct. 31, less than 48 hours after Sandy rocked Connecticut. My reaction to the text was something along the lines of, “You have got to be kidding me.”
I didn’t and still don’t understand how the decision to reopen campus was made so quickly. People’s lives were ruined by this storm and now they have to be concerned with falling behind on school work too? You couldn’t have allowed more time to ensure roads were safe to travel on? You couldn’t have closed campus for the remainder of the week to help those who were severely impacted to try and figure out how they are going to get their lives back to normal?
I, like many others, commute to school four days a week. Fortunately, I live fairly close to campus so I can take my car. However, I recognize that is not the case for everyone. The university officials need to take commuters into consideration more when it comes to deciding whether to cancel school or not.
On Feb. 1, 2011, a snow storm was expected to hit parts of Connecticut, including New Haven, creating unsafe driving conditions. I remember waiting for the notification to come to my phone that campus would be closed for the day. However, the text never came. So, I went to school.
The snowfall didn’t begin until around noon. I sat waiting in the student center until my next class, still hoping that the text would come through. Finally, I was notified that the campus would be closing at 2 pm. Unfortunately for me, my last class for the day finished at 1:50 pm.
By the time I left my last class, the ground was already coated in white. When I walked to my car, a sheet of thick ice had formed on my windshield. I started my car to warm it up, which takes a while for a ’94 Civic, I got my ice scraper out and went to work on my windshield.
When I eventually got on the Merritt Parkway, the road conditions were absolutely horrible and I was terrified. All it took was a slight tap of my brake and next thing I knew my car was spinning. I remember not even finding my voice to scream. I clenched onto the steering wheel and sat wide-eyed until my car stopped spinning. At that point my windshield was covered in slush and all I could do was brace myself to be hit by an oncoming car. My wipers finally kicked in and I found myself resting on top of the guardrail surrounded by snow banks.
I managed to get out of the car with no injuries, but that’s not to say I wasn’t shaken up by the accident. I was in a state of shock for the remainder of the day and once that wore off, I was angry. Angry that I was driving during a terrible snowstorm when I should have been home and should never have been put in such a dangerous situation. Though I do recognize it could have ended much worse than it did, it ended bad enough for me to realize that the decision to keep campus open was a poor choice.
I hope wiser decisions in regards to inclement weather will be made in the future, especially as we head into the winter months.