College braces for Hurricane Joaquin
Written by Áine Cain|
October 1, 2015
Update (October 2 at 1:00 p.m.): Emergency Management Team Chair Sam Jones sent an email to campus saying that the Provost has decided to hold classes as normal this weekend and Monday.
Update (October 1 at 5:57 p.m.): Emergency Management Team Chair Sam Jones sent an email to students, faculty and staff today saying that the College will be open on tomorrow and hold classes on a normal schedule.
College of William and Mary Emergency Management Team Chair Sam Jones notified students, faculty and staff via email that the university is preparing for Hurricane Joaquin. The first campus-wide email was sent out Sept. 30 at 4:30 p.m., and a follow-up was sent at 8:11 a.m. Oct. 1.
In the first email, Jones said that the National Weather Service has predicted that two storm systems will hit Williamsburg over the next five days, bringing up 10 inches of rain. However, he also noted there is no meteorological consensus regarding the storm’s path and impact.
“At this time, we have not canceled any weekend classes or events. As conditions warrant, we will revisit this decision,” Jones said in the email. “Since the path and strength of the storm could change over the next several days, this information remains precautionary only.”
Jones reminded campus to enroll in the College’s emergency mass notification system, which can provide alerts via text, landline, cell phone, and to keep up to date with William and Mary News.
Jones’ second email included checklists for faculty and staff in the event of severe weather. Students are expected to review and secure their personal emergency evacuation plans, work with Area Directors to make sure their evacuation plans are verified, contact family members in the event of a temporary closure, refill prescription drugs, prepare vehicles for travel, verify their planned routes and back up computer hard drives.
In August 2011, the College canceled classes and evacuated campus during the first week of classes in preparation for Hurricane Irene. The storm was a Category 3 generating 120 miles per hour winds as it hit Williamsburg. Irene downed trees across campus but did not inflict much permanent damage on any buildings.
Faculty and staff are advised to suspend work requiring access to computational systems, develop contingency lesson plans, obtain plastic sheeting for offices to prevent equipment damage from ceiling leaks, verify personal contact information, and back up computer hard drives.
“If there is a decision to close campus or evacuate, we will communicate this information through the university’s mass notification system,” Jones said in the email.