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Clearwater elementary students gathering donations for Hurricane Ian survivors

The 2022 hurricane season is expected to be among the costliest and deadliest on-record.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — This year's hurricane season may be coming to a close, but its impact is leaving many with the need to rebuild for years to come.

On the final day of the season, students at Leila G. Davis Elementary in Clearwater spent time collecting and sorting donations for survivors of Hurricane Ian. 

"If it hit here and in the Bay Area, we would hope that others would step up and do the same thing," Principal William Durst said.

Students, staff and families will travel and drop off supplies at Colonial Elementary School in Fort Myers this Saturday. 

In the meantime, students have been busy preparing to give out much-needed supplies including non-perishable food, clothing and hygiene items like toilet paper. 

"They didn't deserve to get hit by that hurricane. It was really damaging," Matteo Cascante, a fifth-grader at the school, said. 

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

The 2022 hurricane season is expected to be among the deadliest and costliest on record.

Hurricane Ian is the third-deadliest storm to hit the mainland U.S. in the 21st century. At least 139 people have died, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's latest report

The Insurance Information Institute’s estimate for Hurricane Ian's insured losses amounts to approximately $60 billion and Nicole's at $1.5 billion.

"Even though those in the Tampa Bay area were not as impacted as what we could have been, we got a really good drill and an exercise of what it could have been like," Dr. Jennifer Collins, USF professor of geosciences, said. 

Collins explained the recent season stresses how prepared people must be with their own plans regardless of how close one is located to a forecast cone, the storm's strength, or even when it's not hurricane season.

Knowing where to evacuate or being familiar with neighbors to lean on may just save one's life. 

"It only takes that one storm," Collins said. 

Collins also said it's important for people not to look at the wind scale to predict impact, but to also consider other factors like flooding from storm surges or rainfall. 

Most deaths from Hurricane Ian were related to drowning, according to a report.

Collins and her team have since been studying peoples' evacuation behavior before and after Hurricane Ian. Click here to learn more about the survey.

While no one can control the path of the next hurricane, students and staff back in Clearwater stress the importance of helping one another when it strikes again.

"While we are just sponsoring one school, my hope is that it spreads to other schools, that they want to adopt a school maybe in that area, and help those families out as well," Durst said. 

Another collection drive will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday at Leila G. Davis Elementary for anyone who would like to donate.

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