Sunday, August 28, 2011

Campus Getting Back on Track After Hurricane Irene Blows Through

SUNDAY, AUGUST 28, 2011, 9 p.m.---Washington College employees should report to campus with normal work hours Monday, August 29. Those who for any reason are not able to get to campus should contact their supervisors. Any employees still affected by the aftermath of the storm should make safety a priority.
Students should return to campus Tuesday, August 30. For students who have not yet received their room keys, check-in will be available starting at 8 a.m. in the Casey Academic Center.
Classes will begin Wednesday morning, August 31.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 28, 1 p.m.––Early assessments indicate that the Washington College campus has come through Hurricane Irene relatively unscathed. Some small trees have been uprooted and many limbs came down. There has been minimal flooding reported thus far.
The Minta Martin residence hall where all remaining students were housed overnight never lost power. The dorms in the “Western Shore” section of campus lost power temporarily but are currently restored to the grid.
Strong wind gusts were still occurring at midday, so anyone on campus is urged to use caution when venturing out and to avoid walking beneath trees. Branches and root systems weakened by rain and wind may still create hazards.
The two chimneys on historic properties (one at Hynson-Ringgold House, the other at the Custom House) had been stabilized in anticipation of the storm and are still standing. No flooding was reported at the Custom House or at the College boathouse.
IMPORTANT: Students who are not already on campus may not return until Tuesday morning, August 30. Check-in will begin at 8 a.m. This ban on earlier arrival applies to any students who were on campus before the storm but returned home.
Some areas of Kent County have been more affected by the hurricane, and roads may be challenging to navigate due to tree damage and flooding. In addition, the College staff will need all of Monday, August 29, to restore the campus exteriors to good condition and ensure no other damage limits the normal operation of the College.
Classes are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning, August 31.
Click on the video link above to see what campus looked like this morning around 7:30 a.m., including some sleep-deprived students getting ready to leave Minta Martin and return to their regular dorms! Still photos of campus will be posted as they become available.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 28, 1:00 a.m.–– The Kent County Office of Emergency Services has reported the following updates for our area from the National Weather Service:
NWS-Mt. Holly has extended the Flash Flood Warning until 2:15 a.m. Sunday morning.
NWS-Mt. Holly has extended the Tornado Watch until 5 a.m. Sunday morning and the Tropical Storm Warning well into Sunday.
Follow the Kent County OES notices at:
SATURDAY, AUGUST 27, 1 p.m. –––The Kent County Office of Emergency Services has issued the following update for the Chestertown area:

*** UPDATE: A Tornado Watch has been issued for our area until 8 p.m. tonight 8/27/11 ***

Otherwise, as of
this morning's briefing, the National Weather Service is reporting no changes in the forecast from yesterday for Kent County and the surrounding counties.

That forecast is:

- 6" to 12" of rain that will fall over a 24- hour period
- Tropical Storm Force winds with strong gusts
- Storm surge of 2' to 4' on top of the astronomical tide
Caroline & Talbot Counties were raised to a Hurricane Warning, but Queen Anne's, Kent & Cecil remain in a Tropical Storm Warning.

The Kent County Office of Emergency Services is requesting all county citizens who live in low lying, flood prone areas to voluntarily evacuate your home at this time. We ask you to find shelter with relatives or elsewhere until at least
Monday. With the current track of Hurricane Irene, there is a very realistic possibility that low lying areas will quickly become flooded sometime Saturday night, and we will be unable to reach you for assistance. We are asking residents to please comply with this request for your own safety. We are taking this storm very seriously, and ask you to do the same.
Additionally all Kent County citizens are requested to prepare for possible long term power outages from damaging winds and rain.
Follow the Kent County OES notices at:
Washington College will continue to update the website with weather-related news.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 26, 2011, 2 p.m.––The latest predictions from the National Weather Service call for Hurricane Irene to pass through the Chestertown area late Saturday, August 27, and early Sunday, August 28, with strong winds and rainfall of 6 to 12 inches. The most severe conditions may occur between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday.

first-year orientation activities have been cancelled. Most students who had already arrived for the start of the school year have left campus. Those who need to remain on campus will be housed appropriately. Dining Services is prepared to feed all students and staff who remain on campus, and Buildings and Grounds staffers are battening down the hatches in every way possible.

Johnson Fitness Center is closing at 4 p.m. today and plans to reopen Monday at 7 a.m. with holiday hours; regular hours should resume on Wednesday, August 31st.

Swim Center is closing at 3 p.m. today and plans to reopen Tuesday, August 30, at 7 a.m.

Miller Library will close at its regular time, 4:30 p.m., today but will be closed Saturday and Sunday, with plans to reopen Monday if conditions allow.

The College Web site will continue to provide periodic updates on the conditions on campus and plans for reopening. In addition, updates will be available through the WAC Alerts system and through the College switchboard (410-778-2800, then press 6 for the information line). Employees are urged to check these sources of information before heading to work Monday morning.

A hurricane is a tropical storm with winds that can reach a constant speed of 75 miles per hour or more. Torrential rains, high winds and storm surges are possible.

Stay indoors, away from windows and glass doors. If possible, find a central room without any windows.

Be aware that the calm "eye" is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds.

Remain indoors until you are certain the storm has passed.

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