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Thursday, September 22: Nicole Ciskowski was scrolling through social media when she stumbled upon a post warning her hometown, Sanibel Island, Florida, about the threat of a tropical depression. She began contacting family and refreshing updates on the rapidly changing situation.
Monday, September 26th: Nicole’s family evacuated their home and the island. Hurricane Ian was now a Category 3 storm, and the city declared a state of emergency and a mandatory evacuation. Nicole felt helpless. Living over a thousand miles away in Wisconsin, with her family now evacuated, all she could do was wait.
Wednesday, September 28th: Hurricane Ian hit Sanibel Island.
Nicole couldn’t focus on anything. All she could do was converse with family and monitor the flooding through traffic cameras. While her physical self was present in class and practice, her mind was not. The girl with a boisterous personality on the course had lost her voice, shocked, with no idea whether or not her home and town were still standing.
Friday, September 30th: Nicole and her family received a NOVA Satellite image that showed their house structure still standing. It was a gut-wrenching feeling, however, as the two houses adjacent to her’s were completely gone.
Still to this day, Sanibel Island is deemed uninhabitable. Nobody is allowed to go back on the island until water and electric are restored.
Nicole’s family is still displaced, currently living with a friend with no idea of when they might be able to return home.
Countless organizations have set up Go Fund Me’s to help rebuild the lives of people that live on the island. If you would like to help, visit FISH, the Hurricane Relief Fund, or any of the Go Fund Me’s linked below.
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