Hurricane Dorian, News

Hurricane Dorian: What you need to know and how to be prepared

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According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Dorian could hit mainland Florida as a major storm.

Update: 11:08 p.m., Aug 29: According to a new advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Dorian is now a Category 2 storm. It is predicted to strengthen to a major storm by tomorrow (Category 3 and above), and is still expected to land in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane. The Weather Channel reported that there is still plenty of possibility for the storm shift and turn away from the coast.

Governor Ron DeSantis assured Florida residents in a press release on Thursday, Aug 29, that Florida is preparing its resources, ready with already 819,000 gallons of water and 1.8 million meals.

Update: 4:45 p.m., Aug 29: Due to the ensuing weather conditions, the University of Miami Athletic Department announced updates in this weekend’s schedule. The Miami soccer team will still be taking on Florida Atlantic University tonight at Cobb Stadium at 7 p.m. The volleyball match against Missouri has been rescheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. in the Knight Gym. The soccer match against Jacksonville for Sunday is cancelled.

Update 4:23 p.m., Aug 29: The University of Miami sent out an advisory detailing that all classes, beginning at 12 p.m. on Friday Aug. 30, will be cancelled through Tuesday, Sept. 3. Classes are expected to resume on Wednesday, Sept. 4. The university will continue to send out Storm Alert emails and update students via social media.

Update, 2:45 p.m., Aug 29: Vice President for Student Affairs, Patricia Whitely sent out an email to all students reassuring that the university is doing everything it can to keep residents safe. “The University is prepared to support residents throughout the entire storm,” Whitely said.

In her statement she informed students that all changes in dining hours, class schedules and activities will be displayed through the university website and official UM social media. Whitely urged students to begin to prepare for a possible storm by charging devices, gathering any supplies they need, and even downloading a few Netflix shows to keep themselves entertained over the weekend.

All students living on-campus and staying for the weekend have mandatory meetings with their RA’s tonight. For those planning to leave or travel, Whitely warned against driving up the East Coast of Florida, as many roads may be closed.

Update, 2:30 p.m., Aug. 29: The University of Miami has announced that all classes scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 30 have been canceled. All university events scheduled for Labor Day weekend have also been canceled. All campus buildings will continue to function normally through Friday, although the university has begun placing storm shutters and sandbags near doorways on the Coral Gables, medical and marine campuses.

A new forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows that Hurricane Dorian could hit mainland Florida as a major storm, Category 4 or above, on Monday. Dorian is a Category 2 storm currently boasting winds of above 100 mph and narrowly avoided a major landfall in Puerto Rico, an island that has been previously battered by major storms such as Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Other islands including Vieques, Culebra, the US Virgin Islands and the Bahamas are situated within the path for the storm, which is expected to strengthen over the coming days as it travels through mostly open waters with little land resistance.

The University of Miami sent out an advisory email to students about the storm reassuring Canes that they are closely monitoring Dorian and will make “the safety of our community,” the “top priority.”

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Umbrellas taken down by the Oscar E. Dooly Memorial Building to prepare for Hurricane Dorian. Photo credit: Rebecca Goddard

Here is what you need to know about the university’s hurricane preparedness and procedures.

Until further notice, all classes and activities on campus will continue as normal, according to University Communications. If weather forecasts continue to show Miami in the storm’s path, the University of Miami will make a decision about evacuation orders 72 hours prior to the storm’s expected arrival. According to UM’s emergency preparedness information, evacuations are typically ordered for storms reaching a Category 3 or above. Students are encouraged to be prepared with evacuation plans.

Back in 2017, UM ordered an evacuation for Hurricane Irma, which approached the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane. Several students booked emergency flights out of Florida or drove up north to wait out the storm.

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The arboretum was among one of the most damaged areas of UM campus following Hurricane Irma in 2017. Photo credit: The Miami Hurricane

Sophomore Iyanni Smith was a senior in high school during Hurricane Irma which, she said she remembers well. She still had power and Wifi throughout the storm, and the only setback she said, was missing school for a week. While her neighborhood was relatively unaffected, she said that her father’s car was destroyed. “A tree fell on it and shattered everything, so he had to get a new car,” Smith said.

South Florida, however, faced a lot of damage, and several areas had debris for months after the storm. UM spent multiple weeks getting the campus ready for classes after Irma hit.

If the university calls for an evacuation for Hurricane Dorian, Smith said she will likely drive back home Orlando, but that she is not too concerned about the storm.

“I’m from Florida so I am used to hurricanes. It’s not a big deal to me. Having to miss classes or relocate is not a problem for me,” Smith said.

With the university’s hurricane safeguards, impact windows and generators, Smith said she feels safe weathering the storm from campus if an evacuation is not called for. “As long as I am in a safe secure area where I feel like nothing is going to flood or break I feel like I will be okay,” Smith said.

Other students are not as at ease with the prospects of a major storm coming to Florida.

A Long Island native, sophomore Mimi Mbaukwu, said she remembers her experience with Hurricane Sandy back in 2012. “We lost power for a week. I was cold and lost a lot of trees,” she said.

Mbaukwu doesn’t have an evacuation plan yet but said she will most likely stay in Naples or fly home if needed. She is not interested in staying on campus through a hurricane, she said. “I don’t know if it would want to be here,” Mbaukwu said, as the experience with debris and wind might be overwhelming.

In order to stay up to date with all emergency announcements from the university regarding Dorian, students should make sure their contact information on CaneLink is correct.

All decisions will be sent through the Emergency Notification Network. For more updates and information, follow UMiamiENN on Facebook and Twitter and visit prepare.miami.edu

August 28, 2019

Reporters

Anna Timmons


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