Not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s a hurricane coming, and everyone should buckle down, board up their windows and begin collecting two of every animal. Parts of New York City are being evacuated, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley have both declared states of emergency and, if emails being sent to the university community are any indication, College Park is in for a serious whomping too.
A message sent to South Campus Commons residents late Friday actually said students might be better off leaving town altogether — Commons management, the email says, has been alerted “to the likeliness that we will lose power … and the outage may continue for days.”
The email also suggested to stock up on water, food and “important documents.” Like another Commons email sent Tuesday, it reminded students to close their windows to prevent water from coming in, which is apparently a frequent oversight we should all probably be ashamed of.
University President Wallace Loh also sent an email Friday afternoon warning of the impending weekend apocalypse, instructing everyone to stay inside and avoid 90-mph wind gusts predicted to start late afternoon Saturday. He provided emergency numbers (hint: 9-1-1) and said to get some cash, because ATMs are not hurricane proof. He concluded the email with “Have a great weekend!”
While it’s not clear if we’ll actually see winds as strong as Loh says, Reuters is reporting that Irene is projected to maintain hurricane-strength winds as it heads up the coast towards New England, which means sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour that pose dangers to windows, roofs, siding, and the people being hit with all of these things flying around in the gale. If you want to track where the storm is, iMap Weather has what appears to be a live visualization of the storm, including many of the projected paths.
Expect updates here throughout the torrent; if power outages prevent us from posting on the blog, we’ll keep tweeting at @theDBK. If you see anything people should know about, please comment here or tweet at us. Flooding, power outages, damage, dementors, you get the idea. Be careful, folks, and try not to drown or get wind-murdered by a flying chunk of house.