A category four storm, known as Hurricane Ida, ravaged the east and southeastern part of the United States from August 26th to September 1st, including a few inches of rain in the Monmouth area.
William Siemer, Executive Director for Campus Planning and Facilities Management, said that Hurricane Ida did not impact the campus community as hard. “We did experience stormy weather in the area, but thankfully there was no damage, flooding, or power outages to speak of in our immediate area.”
However, in other parts of the state, the torrential downpour, high winds, and flash floods caused severe damages to roads, buildings, and people’s livelihoods—including some of Monmouth’s very own students.
Destiny Ramos, a senior psychology student, was heavily impacted by this weather phenomenon. “The experience of Hurricane Ida was unexpected and definitely a life changing experience that caused an extreme challenge in me and my family’s lives.” She said that the storm started as regular showers but quickly picked up momentum and backed up the sewer system near her home in Bloomfield.
“Once my street began to flood, this led to my mom’s car being flooded with water above the tires of her car. My mom decided to try and move her car to a safer spot, but the water had already got into it,” Ramos said, adding that the horn doesn’t sound the same, her car is filled with sewage water, and her brakes don’t work.
On top of facing material damages, Ramos faced an even more meaningful loss. The storm had completely destroyed her late grandfather’s and dog’s belongings. Ramos said, “After we lost my Grandpa, it was tough to cope with. We decided not to get rid of all his things, including his futon, jackets, sofa, and some of his clothes. After we had lost our dog, Gerdi, we decided to keep most of her puppy toys.” The basement served as a safe place to connect with their loved ones.
During the hours leading to the storm, Ramos was packing her things to move back to Monmouth. She never imagined that in a few hours her basement would flood. However, once it began to flood outside her house, things quickly escalated. “After the outside began to look like a river, sewage water began coming in. Once the pressure from the sewage water became too much for the pipes, one of the lids of the sewage drains popped off, causing sewage water to rush out.”
At that moment, The Ramos family decided to save what they could, including their grandfather’s hats, some of her grandparents shirts’, and some photos on the wall. “We lost things in our basement that meant more to us than money. Things that were irreplaceable and that had sentimental value,” Ramos explained, heartbroken. Although having lost valuable memorabilia, she was grateful to have been able to save some things, as many other families did not have the same luck.
Now the Ramos family is left with the aftermath; they removed all the water the next day but everything was ruined, including the futon her Grandpa loved, their sofa, her grandmother’s dresser and clothing, bins of photos, her dog’s toys, and much more. The Ramos family no longer has heat or hot water, has no washer or dryer, and she said their house smells like sewage water. Ramos set up a GoFundMe page to ask for donations in order to help rebuild their basement, buy their grandmother a new dresser and clothes, and replace essential items destroyed by the storm.
Esatnia Blanc, a sophomore majoring in computer science, also experienced the fury of Hurricane Ida. Blanc recently purchased a brand new car, and just after two months of driving it, the hurricane put it to rest. “I live in Elizabeth, and it never floods in my area, so I wasn’t too concerned until I got a flash flood alert on my phone and saw my car halfway underwater,” Blanc said.
After the storm, Blanc checked to see if her car survived; however, it totaled beyond comparison. Her problems did not end there, she had reached out to the dealership where she purchased the vehicle to get it towed, and they had a week-long wait time due to the large amount of people who had lost their cars because of the storm. Blanc got the news that her car was totaled a week later, but she is receiving a brand new vehicle free of charge sometime next year.
“Thankfully, my home and family were safe in the storm, I just wish my car survived,” Blanc said.
Ramos reflected on the impact this hurricane has had on her family on the GoFundMe page, “We had already lost my Grandpa and dog, which was hard enough on us but losing things from them felt like losing them all over again.”