Hurricane Florence Update at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 11, 2018
September 10, 2018
Hurricane Florence has strengthened to a Category 4 storm and continues toward the U.S. East Coast. The National Hurricane Center expects Florence to hit the coast around North and South Carolina as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane later this week, and North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has declared a State of Emergency in light of Hurricane Florence’s potential damaging effects on the state.
As of noon on Tuesday, September 11, Catawba College has made no plans to alter the schedule of classes, including SEGS classes that will meet this week, or events through Thursday, September 13. If a decision is made to cancel classes on Friday, September 14, that decision will be communicated to the campus community by 6 a.m. on Friday morning via CatawbAlerts, the College website (www.catawba.edu), and the College’s social media platforms.
Even if classes are cancelled on Friday, Catawba’s residential students are encouraged to shelter-in-place on campus rather than trying to make their way to their homes. The forecast for heavy rains could create flooding on the roadways, while high winds could cause downed trees and power lines that would make travel dangerous. If classes are cancelled, the college will remain operational with essential personnel reporting to work. Non-essential staff and faculty will not be required to report to work or use a benefit day to cover the absence if the college is closed on Friday.
Campus administrators are monitoring forecasts, collaborating with local emergency response officials, activating campus emergency preparedness plans, and gearing up for heavy rainfall, damaging winds, and the potential for downed trees and power outages.
The Catawba Emergency Response Group met this morning and shared the preparedness plans that are in place:
- The generator in the Cannon Student Center on campus is fueled and ready to go if there are power outages on campus. This will allow resident students a place to gather, charge phones and computers, and have meals if the power goes out on campus. A second generator will be in place on campus for a week beginning this Thursday and will likely be located in the Abernethy Physical Education Center.
- Chartwells, the campus food service provider, has plenty of bottled water and is prepared to provide meals to students even if there is a power outage on campus.
- Resident Assistants in each residence hall on campus have undergone training to assist students with emergency response protocols as necessary.
- The Campus Emergency Response Group will continue to meet at 9 a.m. each day this week, and as needed, to consider additional preparations and responses in light of Hurricane Florence’s impact.
The CatawbAlerts notification system is used to provide updates, instructions and other information that will be vital to the health and safety of the Catawba campus community. Any changes to Catawba College’s operation schedule will be announced via CatawbAlerts and via campus-wide emails. These alerts will also be displayed on the Catawba website at www.catawba.edu. If you have not registered to receive CatawbAlerts or need to update your phone numbers or email addresses in the system, we encourage members of the campus community to do so at this time by logging into CatLink, the Catawba College community portal.
You must register to participate, and each user is allowed to register up to two text (cell) numbers, six (off-campus) e-mail addresses and four voice numbers. CatawbAlerts registration and subsequent personal account administration, including updates to the list of notified numbers and e-mail addresses, can be found in CatLink.
When an emergency occurs on campus — anything from inclement weather to a life-threatening situation — a brief CatawbAlert will promptly be sent to you via the numbers or e-mail addresses you have registered. The CatawbAlert is a condensed summary of an emergency situation; characters are limited due to constraints on the length of text messages. (See also Instructions for Non-Campus Community Members to Receive Emergency Info)
The college website, its official Facebook page and Twitter all will be utilized to provide more details on the emergency situation after a CatawbAlert is sent. In the event that the Catawba website is unavailable, you can find additional information on an emergency situation at e2.catawba.edu.
An emergency preparedness guide for the campus community is available on the college website that details recommended responses to various emergencies, including weather emergencies: https://catawba.edu/files/1614/7083/8142/DeskReference.pdf.
Catawba Students with Families in Harm’s Way
Catawba has about 150 students whose families live in the counties of N.C. and S.C. that will be directly impacted by Hurricane Florence. The campus community is thinking of you and your loved ones and holding you in our hearts and prayers as we all prepare and await what Hurricane Florence brings. If you are a student who needs administrative or counseling support in the days ahead, please reach out to your Resident Assistant if you live on campus, or call Catawba’s Public Safety at 704-637-4000 or 704-202-1734 to access on-call staff.