Preparations for Hurricane Florence

To: W&L Faculty and Staff
From: Marc Conner, Provost
Date: September 11, 2018

As we monitor this week's forecast and the approach of Hurricane Florence, we want to remind all faculty and staff of both university policy and personal options in inclement weather.

Current weather predictions include both high winds and heavy rainfall in our area beginning late this week and throughout the weekend, which may result in downed power lines, widespread power outages and flash flooding. Many events, including Young Alumni Weekend, have been cancelled in anticipation of this storm.

Facilities Management and Dining Services are preparing to provide emergency power and meals for students on campus in the event of severe power outages.

Information about Class Cancellations or Delays:

In inclement weather, assume the university will remain open on schedule unless there is an official announcement to the contrary via General Alerts messages on text, email, the LiveSafe app and the university website. More information about the delay and closing policy and official notifications can be found at inclementweather.wlu.edu.

Please note: The university might operate on schedule, even when area schools and businesses are closed or delayed. Therefore, always check your text messages, email, the LiveSafe app and/or the W&L website for the latest update or to verify any TV/radio cancellation announcements, because public media announcements are sometimes wrong.

In Case of High Winds or Flooding:

Should a high wind or flood warning be issued, the university will issue a message via the General Alerts system. If severe flooding poses a threat to your safety inside a building, evacuate the area. If it is safer to remain inside the building, shelter in place. Contact Public Safety at x8999, or (540) 458-8999 from off campus, and report the exact location and severity of the flooding. If you are stranded and need emergency assistance, dial 911.

For more information about what to do in a flood or high winds, consult W&L's Emergency Management Plan, which is also available offline via the LiveSafe app.

Traveling to and from Campus in Inclement Weather:

In remaining open, the university does not advise anyone to travel who feels that he or she cannot do so safely. Commuting students should exercise their best personal judgment with regard to their own local road conditions and other safety concerns. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE ACROSS FLOODED ROADS. Please communicate directly with your professor if you are unable to safely get to campus.

Road conditions in and around Lexington are available at inclementweather.wlu.edu. For more information about flood and hurricane safety, visit www.weather.gov/safety.

Faculty members are asked to be understanding about student absence. Faculty members who cannot safely travel to campus should notify their department and/or respective dean's office in a timely manner so that a notice can be posted in the classroom if possible. Faculty members also are encouraged to email their students directly if class will not be held.

Staff members should notify their immediate supervisors of their personal decisions to delay arrival or be absent. For additional information regarding the university's inclement weather policy for employees, including special instructions for essential personnel, please see pp. 86-87 of the Employee Handbook.

What Can You Do?

Preparing for a Hurricane or Flood:

  • Assemble an Emergency Kit, including water, nonperishable food, flashlight, batteries, and prescription medications.
  • Charge your cell phone.
  • Unplug small appliances, including stereos, TVs, electronic equipment and lamps.
  • Bring inside anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture, etc.)
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage in case of a power outage.
  • Pick up items on floors and store them in drawers or closets.
  • Move upholstered furniture away from windows.
  • Close and lock your windows.
  • Back up computer data and take a copy with you if you evacuate.
  • Cover your computer and other electronic equipment with plastic sheeting or large plastic garbage bags.
  • Remember that standard insurance does not cover damage caused by flooding.

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