WATERTOWN — Jefferson Community College President Ty Stone thought she was in the clear from Hurricane Dorian when she went to the Bahamas last week.
Although the storm hit about 130 miles away from where she was staying, President Stone was impacted by the Category 5 hurricane nonetheless.
“I really, really feel badly for people who lost everything,” she said. “I just went through some inconvenience. People will be generational devastated for years.”
The 185-mile-per-hour winds leveled much of Freeport and Abaco Island.
So far, 20 people are confirmed dead, but that number is expected to go up as rescue crews get to the more devastatingly affected areas.
At her resort, Nassau was hit by periods of torrential downpour and high winds.
Businesses and restaurants were shut down, and she couldn’t get off the island. Her flight was canceled. She finally left on Tuesday night — after three days of stormy weather.
She went down to the Bahamas to celebrate a friend’s 55th birthday when a tropical storm, at the most, would be going through the area.
At the time, meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center didn’t think it would become such a massive hurricane that sat on the Bahamas for two days without moving.
For the first three days of her trip, the weather was clear.
But the unusually warm sea waters created Dorian and the 18 inches of rain that fell.
“It’s awful what happened,” President Stone said. “I can’t imagine the winds and the rain that fell for days and days and days.”
The now Category 3 hurricane is making its way up the Eastern Seaboard and will turn into a tropical storm hitting as far north as parts of Massachusetts.
President Stone finally got off the island from the airport in Nassau, where rescue efforts are being amassed.
She’s relieved she’s home and back at JCC for the first week of classes.
Keeping up with the news since getting home, President Stone hopes that the community can come together to help with relief efforts that will be needed to help tens of thousands of people impacted by Dorian.