UM braces for Hurricane Frances

The windows have been boarded up. Hurricane shutters are in place. UM is bracing itself for possibly the worst hurricane since Andrew in 1992. Hurricane Frances, a category 4 hurricane larger in size than the state of Florida is set to hit land on Friday. Regardless of which part of Florida the hurricane eye passes over, the university will most likely experience at least tropical storm force weather.

University preparations are in place. The Crisis Decision Team has been meeting with increasing frequency throughout the week as the hurricane has become more of a threat. Among the members of this group include President Donna Shalala, Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely, Paul Dee, director of Intercollegiate Athletics, and Alan Fish, vice president of Business Services. Joining them on speakerphone were Dr. Sharanya Majumdar from the Division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the Rosenstiel campus, and John Clarkson, dean of the School of Medicine.

Governor Jeb Bush has requested that the UM-FSU football game scheduled for Labor Day be postponed should the hurricane hit, because he does not want the teams competing in the event of a tragedy. More than likely, FSU will be unable to travel through the state to even get to Miami. FSU is planning on bringing 1000 students down by Greyhound buses, including the band, spirit groups, various students, and the players.

The university has ordered 60,000 bottles of water to last three days, as well as lunch and dinner to last three days, which amounts to 10,000 meals per day. These preparations should be sufficient for 4,000 people, including resident students and essential staff members. They are stressing that UM is not a designated hurricane shelter.

Experts are encouraging local students to stay at home and resident students to remain in their dorm rooms. They do not advise anyone to leave Miami. The university will be updating students on any decisions as news becomes available.

Resident students attended mandatory floor meetings last Tuesday, where they were briefed on hurricane safety tips, various protocols, and what to expect during the hurricane. The meetings also covered the possibility of a potential lockdown, as well as a zero-alcohol policy regardless of age. Housing is being prepared accordingly and taking all necessary measures as the hurricane nears.

The University has a Rumor Control Hotline with updated information available 24 hours a day.

>> For the latest UM news on Hurricane Frances, visit or call the Rumor Control Hotline at 305-284-5151.

Megha Garg can be contacted at


3Fill several small containers with water for drinking. Ditto for bath tubs. They will be needed for washing and flushing toilets.

3Car owners should set the emergency brake and make sure that the car is in reverse gear or park. Close windows and lock car doors.

3Fill up on gas because gas pumps won’t work if there is a power outage.

3If you have Venetian blinds, RAISE them all the way to the top. If you have shutters, close them in all rooms.

3Stock up on non-perishable snack foods, such as crackers, cookies, peanuts, etc.

3All furniture, including beds, should be pulled away from windows. All electronic equipment should be placed off the floor, preferably in a closet.

3Make sure you have flashlights and plenty of batteries to last until the power can be restored.

3Stay indoors during the storm and stay updated via battery-powered radio as to the progress of the storm, and other important info for dealing with the aftermath.