Campus, DC Brace for Hurricane's Impact
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 00:10
All Georgetown campuses in the D.C. metropolitan area have been closed Monday and Tuesday as the city readies itself for the worst of Hurricane Sandy.
The university issued a shelter-in-place warning around 5:30 p.m. Monday. The notification, which was sent out via HOYAlert, urged members of the campus community to stay indoors as the full force of the Category 1 storm hits the District.
"DANGEROUS CONDITIONS EXIST OUTDOORS," a text sent to HOYAlert subscribers read. "DO NOT GO OUTSIDE UNTIL AN 'ALL CLEAR' IS ISSUED."
Hurricane Sandy, which has increased in intensity as it travels up the East Coast, is expected to bring heavy rains and wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour to the D.C. area. Federal and D.C. government offices are closed through Tuesday, and Metrorail and Metrobus services are canceled.
The university closures were announced in broadcast emails sent to the campus community Sunday evening and Monday morning. In addition to cancelling classes, the university has taken several steps to prepare for the oncoming storm. An emergency command center was put in place 8 a.m. Monday. The center is staffed by members of the Department of Public Safety, the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of Residence Life, University Information Services, the Office of Risk Management, University Facilities, Auxiliary Services and the Office of Public Affairs and will be running 24 hours a day for the duration of the storm, according to university spokeswoman Stacy Kerr.
Kerr added that emergency response teams and DPS have been monitoring data about the storm and are subscribed to information services not available to the general public.
In the meantime, the storm has prompted a wave of building closures throughout campus. Lauinger Library closed at noon Monday, the Leavey Center Grab ʻnʼ Go closed at 3 p.m. and Yates Field House and university food services will close at 4 p.m. today, concurrent with the shelter-in-place notification.
The broadcast email that announced the shelter-in-place policy urged students to take food from OʼDonovan Hall and Grab ʻnʼ Go before the facilities close. According to Kerr, the amount of food available in OʼDonovan Hall is running low.
In addition, Georgetown has set up an emergency generator outside the Southwest Quad to deal with the possibility of a power outage.
"Based on all current weather forecasts that we are monitoring and the advising of local utility companies, we are preparing for the possibility of a loss of power," Kerr wrote in an email. Our emergency generators will power life-saving services like alarms and emergency exists in the event of a loss of power. ... Students are encouraged to make preparations to be without power."
Students of Georgetown, Inc., services were also affected by the hurricane. More Uncommon Grounds and Midnight MUG are both closed, and Vital Vittles will close early so that employees don't have to walk home after dark.
According to Chief Operating Officer Stephanie Wolfram (MSB ’13), shelves at Vital Vittles have been wiped clean.
"Yesterday, we had a huge influx of customers," she said. "It started around 1 p.m. All of a sudden everyone wanted to get stuff. ... Average purchases have been over $20.”
Wolfram also expressed concern about Corp locations losing electricity in the case of a power outage.
“[The university] really wants to make sure Leavey doesn’t lose power," she said. "If they do, that becomes an issue for the university. We would have to work through it because there would be spoilage.”