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UPDATED: 5/27/20 - 4:04 p.m.

Catawba Administration Urges Fall Break Caution, Preps for Effects of Hurricane Matthew

October 5, 2016

Category: Events, Faculty, Staff, Students

A Message from Dr. Michael Bitzer, Provost & Interim Dean of Students

October 5, 2016

Dear Students and Members of Our Campus Community,

hurricane.jpgAs our campus prepares for fall break, most of you know that the southeastern coast of the United States is preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew.  This storm is expected to make landfall along the Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina coasts between Thursday and Saturday, bringing with it heavy rains, high winds, downed power lines and trees, flooding and potential power outages.

These states are issuing evacuation orders for coastal county residents.  These orders began at 3 p.m. today in the coastal counties of Charleston and Beaufort, S.C., with lanes along Interstate 26 reversed to help residents leave the Lowcountry.  In North Carolina, the Governor has declared a state of emergency for more than half of the state's 100 counties, notably in the eastern half of the state. UNC Wilmington has ordered its students to evacuate by noon on Thursday, though their campus will be monitoring the situation.

Because of these circumstances, we ask that you exercise caution if you plan to travel away from campus over fall break, particularly if your travels take you east to the coastal areas. Some important reminders:

  • Make sure your gas tank is topped off.
  • Your cell phone is fully charged.
  • You have some emergency supplies like food, water and a flashlight if you are stuck in traffic or temporarily stranded.

If you are planning to remain on campus, be aware that we have made preparations to deal with conditions that Hurricane Matthew might bring. Members of our Emergency Response Group gathered this afternoon to discuss preparedness efforts in place on campus in several areas, including Facilities, Food Service, Public Safety, Athletics, Housing, and Health Services.

In the event of a power outage on campus, there is a generator in the Cannon Student Center that will allow students to have hot meals, charge their phones and gather in a lighted, air conditioned area. All areas have appropriate staffing in place to address on-campus issues and situations that may arise as a result of the storm.

The back-up generator for the campus phone system only works for approximately eight hours, therefore Public Safety suggests that you call them directly on that duty officer's cell phone if you are in need of assistance during a power outage.  That number is 704-202-1734.  Also, to report any damage or leaks that may result from the storm's effects, please use the same number to log these issues since the Facilities Work Order system will not be operational. If the campus suffers any damage, Facilities will prioritize critical needs for campus, and will respond as soon as possible to all reports in a prioritized listing.

If conditions merit, we will use our CatawbAlerts system to give you weather updates or instructions.  These will come to you via email, text, or voicemail, based on your subscription selections, and will also be displayed on the front page of our campus website (

If you have questions, please reach out to me or members of the Emergency Response Group (  Be assured we continue to monitor Hurricane Matthew's progress and will make decisions and recommendations with the safety of our campus community in mind.

We wish you a safe and restful fall break.

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