MSU alumni prep for Hurricane Florence as storm makes landfall
As Hurricane Florence begins its assault on the East Coast, MSU alumni are preparing themselves for the storm and its fallout. According to MSU’s club tracking website, there are nine active MSU alumni organizations in states projected to be hit by the hurricane.
Two clubs, the Hampton Roads Spartans MSU Alumni Club in Virginia and the Hilton Head Island MSU Alumni Association in South Carolina, were available for comment. Reba Bloom, social media coordinator and secretary for the Hampton Roads Spartans, talked about the potential damage of the hurricane and which clubs are likely in the most danger.
“I know that the forecast has changed a lot, so it’s not hitting our area as much as it’s hitting Charlotte, or North Carolina and South Carolina,” Bloom said. “It’s going to hit them a lot harder, so people that would evacuate if it were trending more north, they’re just staying.”
At the moment, Bloom says, there are no plans to aid in the hurricane recovery. However, she said that the alumni club donates to the local food banks and said they may continue to do so after the storm.
In North Carolina, there are clubs in Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro and Triangle. In South Carolina, there are clubs in Greenville, Hilton Head Island and Charleston.
Two clubs in Virginia, the Hampton Roads club and the Richmond club, are no longer in their state's evacuation zone A, the areas projected to receive the most damage, but are now in zone C, for areas with low-to-moderate danger risk. Both clubs are expected to suffer from heavy flooding.
Bloom works for WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia, and is not evacuating. She said that she and her husband, who also works at the station, are prepared to stay at their place of work.
“My house is in zone C, so I’m not under the evacuation orders,” Bloom said. “Where I work is zone A, which was evacuated — however, we have to go to work.”
Chuck Slusne, president of the Hilton Head Island MSU Alumni Association, was not available for comment, as he had recently been released from the hospital. However, Shelly Slusne, Chuck’s wife and member of the MSU Class of 1971, said the family and other alumni in the region previously evacuated prior to Hurricane Matthew and met for dinner at Slusne's daughter's home as they waited out the storm.
“Two years ago, when we evacuated for Hurricane Matthew, there were about six Michigan State alumni that evacuated to Atlanta, real close to my daughter's house,” Slusne said.
Matthew was the first Category 5 hurricane to develop in the Atlantic Ocean since Hurricane Felix in 2007 and affected the same region Florence is expected to devastate. Florence could bring as much as 40 inches of rain to the Carolinas, more than twice as much as Matthew's peak of 17 inches.
Hurricane Florence’s progress can be tracked here.
This story will be followed up with interviews from Bloom and the Slusne family once the hurricane has passed.