Although Hurricane Katrina made landfall far from Athens, University students with ties to New Orleans are concerned about their friends, families and homes.
Damaging areas of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, but not hitting New Orleans directly, Katrina reached the Gulf Coast early Monday morning as a Category 4 storm.
As details of the damage remained unclear Monday afternoon, some University students were forced to wait for news of Katrina’s impact.
“I was pretty sure my family was safe,” said Jennifer Curole, a senior from New Orleans, who was able to text-message them Monday and found they were safe in Destin, Fla.
For a while she had trouble calling her parents, because cell phone service was disrupted by the hurricane.
Curole said she was not as sure about the safety of her house, which is in eastern New Orleans near the Lakefront Airport.
She admitted she’s “concerned,” yet says she has “hope and faith.”
Michael Quinn, another student from New Orleans, said some of his family members stayed in the city during the storm.
Quinn also had problems calling his family members, although he said he was confident that they were safe.
“I think he’s fine,” Quinn said of his father, who remained in New Orleans.
“At this point, I’m pretty glad I didn’t have to deal with it myself,” Quinn added.
Quinn said many residents probably stayed in the city because stoms are common in New Orleans.
“A bunch of people just get together and drink beer and wait it out,” he said.
Rainy and windy conditions in Athens may have kept some students from drinking last night.
According to David Stooksbury, state climatologist and professor at the Driftmier Engineering Center, Athens could experience localized flooding if Katrina’s “feeder bands” — which dump large amounts of rain — pass over the city.
The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for Clarke County effective until this afternoon and a wind advisory effective until 6 p.m.
Stooksbury called this hurricane season, which will peak in early September and end in November, “more active than usual.”
The National Weather Service’s forecast today calls for winds from 10 to 15 mph and a 50 percent chance of rain with a high around 80 degrees.
Conditions are expected to be less rainy in time for football this weekend, with mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid-80s by Friday.
The effects of Katrina may be gone by Saturday, but rain Monday forced the football team to practice earlier and may affect today’s practice schedule.
— Contributing: Associated Press