Getting Ready for Earl
Region’s first hurricane may scrape Cape and Islands Friday night
With Hurricane Earl expected to brush the Cape and Islands late tonight,University officials are preparing the campus for high winds and heavy rains and strongly advising students to spend as little time as possibleoutside.
“I’m urging all members of the University community to use their best judgment,” says Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore. “Whetherthey are on campus or traveling off campus, personal safety during any storm should be the highest priority.”
Yesterday, the National Hurricane Center issued a hurricanewarning for the coast of Massachusetts, from Westport eastward around Cape Cod and up to Hull and including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. By midmorning today, Earl was downgraded from a Category 3 hurricane to Category 1, and the National Weather Service lifted the Tropical Storm Warning for the Boston area. It is now expected to pass 50 to 100 miles east of Nantucket late tonight and to pack winds of 75 miles per hour. Meteorologists warn that the disturbance could bring heavy wind-driven rains to the streets of Boston, as well.
Officials say the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus are well prepared for an Earl-sized hurricane, with stockpiles of drinking water and flashlights and backup electrical generators ready to go. If the storm does veer to the north and west and strike Boston, students are advised to remain in their dorms. Those who must go outside are asked to use extra caution crossingstreets, where visibility may be impaired by downpours. Administrators suggest that students, especially first-years, touch base with their parents to let them know their location and assure them of their safety.
If water should enter dorms, David Zamojski, director of Residence Life and an assistant dean of students, asks students to notify their local Residence Life office immediately. Students can also call the University’s Facilities Management and Planning Emergency Control Desk at 617-353-2105. Zamojski says additional maintenance staff will be on duty through Friday evening.
Craig Hill, associate vice president for auxiliary services, says all dining hall hours remain as scheduled. Any changes or closings will be posted on BU Today.
Also, should Earl take aim at campus, University safety officials recommend that all windows be closed tightly and that books and electronic equipment be moved away from windows. Valuables should be placed in desks or dressers. Students should stay away from windows and doors. All injuries, damage, and safety hazards should be immediately reported to resident advisors. If electric power is lost, officials say, students should not light candles. Flashlights are available from RAs.
Because heavy rains and high winds are expected to begin by rush hour, officials ask all students, faculty, and staff to use their best judgment about deciding when to begin the upcoming holiday weekend.
In the case of emergency, Medical Campus personnel should call the MED Public Safety Department at 617-414-4444. Students and staff on the Charles River Campus should call the BU Police Department at 617-353-2121.
BU Today will provide updates on the storm as more information is available.
More information about emergency procedures and advice is available here from the University’s Environmental Health & Safety Emergency Communications.