Even if you live somewhere beyond the East Coast of the United States, you likely have heard about the impending approach of Hurricane Florence. Units across the University are actively engaged in preparing for this powerful storm. I am writing to tell you about those preparations and to let you know how you can receive updates in the coming days.
Although the course of the storm remains unpredictable, it is expected to make landfall sometime Thursday in North Carolina and subsequently bring heavy rain and flooding to a broad area, including central Virginia. Flooding could pose serious problems due to the heavy rainfall we already have received this year. Widespread loss of power is another major concern, although many areas of the University are equipped with generators. We are currently finalizing plans to ensure that students have access to food, water, and other basic necessities, such as showers. Our plans will take into account not only students living on Grounds but also the many students who live off Grounds.
Please encourage your student to take the same steps being asked of everyone to prepare. They should ensure:
- Electronic devices are charged.
- Important medications will not run out.
- Bottled water and nonperishable food are on hand.
- Flashlights or other battery-operated devices have fresh batteries.
- Cash is on hand in case ATMs are not operating.
- Any outdoor furniture or objects that might become mobile in high winds are brought inside (primarily for students living off Grounds).
The FEMA website includes additional tips and helpful information on hurricane preparation.
As we continue to track the storm, we will adjust operations as needed. A decision regarding Thursday and Friday classes will be made Wednesday afternoon. Although we are not suggesting that students leave the area, we anticipate some will be considering this option. If your student does decide to leave, we hope they will place personal safety at the top of their priority list. Please urge them to base any travel decisions on the current weather and road conditions and to allow plenty of time to arrive at their destination.
Safety will be important during and after the storm. Please help us reinforce basic measures, especially if your daughter or son has not experienced a hurricane before. We will be asking students to stay inside during the storm, and afterward, not to venture out to play in mud or standing water. From past experience, we know that students may think the period after a hurricane is a fun time to gather outside, but this poses a number of risks, including injury. If driving, it is critically important not to drive through standing water or flooded areas.
All information sent to the University community will be posted on a dedicated Hurricane Florence website. Please bookmark and check this page for updates. In addition, you may want to follow the University’s social media accounts, Twitter: @UVA and @UVASafety, and Facebook ). For cancellations of events and other changes, students should check the Operations Status Board.
Additionally, please encourage your student to sign up for UVA Alerts if they are not already registered. These text and email messages notify University recipients of an imminent threat from a hazard. Students can sign up parents.
We are doing everything possible to prepare for a worst-case scenario with this serious storm. The safety of students is foremost in our plans, and we are grateful for your help in reinforcing basic safety measures. Most likely, I will not be sending you any further communications about the storm, but instead ask that you refer to the above resources to ensure you are receiving the most current information going to the entire University community. Thank you, as always, for your support and partnership.
Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer