As Hurricane Irene's winds battered campus, large shingles from the new Science Center became loose.
As Hurricane Irene’s winds battered campus, large shingles from the new Science Center became loose.

Large shingles used in the construction of the New Science Center’s roof became loose around 11:55 p.m. yesterday as Hurricane Irene buffeted campus.

According to the university, D.C. Fire responded after university officials feared that the shingles could become dangerous projectiles if the wind speeds became any greater. The campus community was warned via HoyAlert─ a text messaging system utilized by the university in times of emergency ─ to stay away from the area surrounding the construction site.

It was originally thought that the building was collapsing, according to D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson PetePiringer. D.C. Fire secured the area, creating a safety zone from which pedestrians were excluded, before leaving the scene.

A further update from HoyAlert at 1:15 a.m. cautioned students to weather out the storm indoors, as winds and downed trees across campus created ripe conditions for flying debris.

The danger of encountering flying debris was experienced throughout the distract last night. Some minor injuries were sustained throughout D.C., according to Piringer.

“We always had the potential danger of people being struck,” he said. “Neither [at Georgetown] nor anywhere else around the city were there serious injuries.”

President Obama has declared a state of emergency for the District of Columbia, according to a FEMA press release this morning. This measure enables the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency to organize disaster relief using federal funding. The federal government will supply 75 percent of all aid needed to address the city’s emergency measures.

The large roof shingles on the science center were secured this morning after the weather relented. The university is still addressing minor repairs across campus, particularly the leaks resulting from the heavy rain.

Businesses and restaurants in the Leavey Center are open as previously scheduled, and there have been no further amendments to New Student Orientation other than those published Friday.

While the neighborhood is experiencing fallen wires and trees as well as minor flooding, there is no major structural damage to any university buildings according to a university email. No area of the campus lost power throughout the night.

Hurricane Irene was classified as a Category 1 hurricane when it passed over Washington D.C. The area experienced winds from 40 to 50 miles per hour, which qualify as tropical storm force. The campus also received an estimated four inches of rain throughout the afternoon and evening, with an additional half inch of rain expected today.

Check back throughout the day for more Hurricane Irene updates.

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