Local Bahamian college students watch intently as Hurricane Dorian batters their home country

Students at Averett feeling Dorian's devastation nearly a thousand miles away

DANVILLE, Va. – Some college students in Southwest Virginia are feeling Hurricane Dorian's devastation nearly a thousand miles away.

About a dozen students at Averett University in Danville are watching helplessly as slow-moving Dorian hits their homes in the Bahamas.

Winston Sinclair, a junior at Averett, said his family in Nassau was spared, but his friends saw the devastation firsthand.

"They really got hit the hardest. I wasn't expecting it to be so bad," Sinclair said.

Dorian tore shutters off of Averett junior Peter Culmer's family home in New Providence and knocked down nearby power lines.

His family is safe, but shaken up. Some of his friends lost everything.

"Honestly, I've been holding back the tears a lot of the time, just thinking about what's been going on," Culmer said.

So far, Hurricane Dorian has claimed at least five lives, destroyed homes and flooded storm shelters. 

As Dorian heads for the Florida coast, Culmer can't help but worry how his family will deal with the aftermath.

His father is a fisherman and relies on the tourism industry to keep his business afloat.

"Now that we've had a hurricane, tourism is definitely going to go down because people are gonna be recuperating and trying to fix things," Culmer said.

Culmer's mom just beat stage 1 breast cancer.

"Last month, a month today, that's when she wrung the bell to say that she's cancer-free," Culmer said.

Peter said he's going to lean on and pray with the other Bahamians at Averett.

"Because we are a strong country, when one hurts, all hurts," Sinclair said.

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You can watch Lindsey during Virginia Today every weekend or as a reporter during the week!