Coastal Now – Hurricane Dorian Preparations

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On a day when campus would normally be
full of activity, it was still. Some facilities crews were out making certain
that buildings would be able to withstand whatever Hurricane Dorian
would bring later in the week. We are finishing up the last preparedness
actions that need to take place to prepare our campus. By Tuesday afternoon
Coastal Carolina University was prepared for the closest approach by Dorian, which
was expected on Thursday. We’re gonna close down after today, after we batten
down the hatches. Public Safety will then take care of it, during the storm and
we’ll come back post storm for recovery. The onset of tropical storm force winds
now is late Wednesday night. The Emergency Operations Center or EOC, with
representatives from across campus, is where situations such as hurricanes are
managed. We are well practiced at this point. Experience with previous
hurricanes is a plus when a new threat arises. Our staff, because they’ve done it
so many times, they are getting things done quickly. Thursday will be the day we
experience the greatest winds. Once a category 5 storm, Hurricane Dorian was
not as strong as at its peak, but still quite capable of causing harm. The eye
right now is forecast to be only 50 miles off our coast. Forecasts were in
agreement that the storm would not likely make landfall in South Carolina.
Let’s say Hurricane Dorian stays on the current track. We will experience
tropical storm force winds and the possibility of hurricane force winds, as
well, on our campus. If the storm slows down, if the storm speeds up or if the track
shifts, we’re looking at a completely different forecast. Even the best
forecasts for hurricanes, however, are not always accurate. If the track does shift
even a little bit west that means that our impacts would greatly increase. That
being the case, leadership at Coastal will always act in a cautious manner
where hurricanes are concerned. I think our students, faculty and staff
understand that safety is paramount to us. We close the campus and we send our
students home. They don’t need to be here during these times. The question becomes,
when will students return to campus and life get back to normal. Without knowing
what impact Dorian will have in the coming days,
that’s impossible to answer. Once it’s safe to come back we’ll communicate that
and we’ll start recovery operations.

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