Grace’s Climate Story


Grace Dudek


Philadelphia, PA 19104

How are you sensing climate change?

On September 1st, 2021, the second day of my freshman year college, Hurricane Ida hit Philadelphia. On September 2nd, I woke up to all of my classes being canceled due to flooding. I had slept through most of the storms the night before, so I was not prepared for what this day brought. With our free time, my friends and I decided to walk to the Schuylkill river. When we got there, I stood shocked at what I saw. The river was extremely flooded, engulfing the roads on the highways below. As the day progressed, I heard more about how dorms had flooded, trees and plants had been uprooted, and homes had been damaged. I had never before seen the city be affected by a major weather event so brutally. Everyone from out of town that day asked me if this was what Philadelphia was like all of the time. I did my best to explain that this was all new to me as well, but I couldn’t help but feel sad about the first impressions that so many people had of my city. This disaster impacted everyone in the area for weeks following this event. When I went home for fall break, it took double the amount of time to travel back due to road closures. As I drove around my hometown, I noticed many stores closed for repairs and tons of damaged cars resulting from tornadoes that struck this area during the storm. I was distressed after seeing the destruction in my hometown and thinking about the danger that the people around me had been in. This experience taught me that this area is not prepared for such events, making me very concerned for the future of unpredictable and harmful weather in the northeast as the climate crisis worsens.

How do these changes make you feel?

At the time of the crisis, I was so confused about how severely the hurricane affected us. I was used to hearing about intense storms in the south, but I had never really understood what experiencing that would be like first-hand until this moment. I was also really worried for the city and everyone in the area as they recovered from the storm. Looking back, I am overwhelmed and anxious by the idea of this occurring again or even worse, especially as the climate crisis progresses and unpredictable and extreme weather anomalies increase.

Philadelphia, PA 19104

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