photo by Robert Frasca
Orange County: Principal Robert Frasca
While Hurricane Ian passed through central Florida, principal Robert Frasca spent the night safe at home, his phone notifications filled with flood alerts. Despite the forewarnings, what he encountered the next morning still surprised him.
“When I got up and walked outside, I saw that the water was about 10 feet from the front door,” Frasca said. “It was about waist high in the street.”
Frasca could not leave his neighborhood in Orange County for the next four days, as the flooding overtook the streets and made it impossible to drive.
“I finally got to leave my house Sunday because a friend picked me up at the end of the street,” Frasca said. “We were kayaking in the streets. On Friday, the fire marshals were driving through every few hours to check on people to make sure everybody was okay.”
Hurricane Ian shook Orange County to its core. Frasca says that the most frightening part of Hurricane Ian was watching the waters rise.
“As people were driving through the neighborhood, there were a couple of points at which cars were going fast enough where the water actually came into my garage a little bit,” Frasca said. “That was making me a little uneasy because I don’t have flood insurance.”
While dealing with flood damage at his own house, Frasca also had to simultaneously document the school’s storm damage and coordinate with bus drivers, custodians and administration in order to reopen school on Monday.
“I had a team of custodians and administrators texting me pictures of different things while I was sitting at my computer, plugging them into a Google Doc for the district so that they could see [the storm damage], so at least I felt like I was contributing,” Frasca said. “There was just a lot of coordination because I couldn’t physically get [to school]. That was really stressful too.”
Frasca was fully prepared to roll up his sleeves and wade through flood water to get to school the following Monday, but fortunately, most of the flooding in his neighborhood had receded by that time.
“It was scary. There were a lot of anxious moments because I just didn’t know [what to do]—it was very new.” Frasca said. “I was blessed that nothing was lost or damaged in my house.”