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Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaias updates

William & Mary's Emergency Management Team sent the following updates about Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaias to the campus community in August 2020. - Ed.

TS Isaias Update - University to Reopen Aug. 5

August 4, 2020, 3:55 pm

Dear William & Mary community –

The university will reopen Wednesday, Aug. 5 with offices and departments operating under their fall 2020 schedules. Essential personnel should continue to be in touch with their supervisors.

Though Tropical Storm Isaias passed directly over Williamsburg bringing significant rain, strong winds and some tornados, damage to campus was minimal. Including minimal power outages.

Several weeks remain in the 2020 hurricane season. If you have not already, please familiarize yourself with the numerous ways William & Mary has to communicate to the campus community during an emergency. In addition to the university’s emergency alert system, you may also receive notifications by following W&M News on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/wmnews/ - or Twitter, - https://www.twitter.com/wmnews - or by using the W&M mobile app - https://www.wm.edu/mobileapps/.

Stay safe,

Ginger Ambler, EMT co-chair
Deborah Cheesebro, EMT co-chair

Weather: Tornado Watch

August 4, 2020, 5:13 am

The Williamsburg area is currently under a tornado watch. This means conditions are favorable for a tornado. Heavy rain and high winds are also in the forecast. Tune to your local weather station for current weather conditions and plan what you will do and where to go if a tornado warning is issued. If you hear the university's emergency siren during this period, please take shelter in the lowest level of the closest building.

As a reminder, here are the additional weather alerts we could see and instructions for recommended action under those conditions:

Tornado Warning: means a tornado has already been spotted or that Doppler radar is indicating storm circulation that can quickly spawn a tornado. In the event of a tornado warning, the campus emergency siren will sound. You should seek shelter in a basement or an interior hallway of a sturdy building immediately.

In the event of a tornado warning, take shelter in a basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.

If you cannot reach a stable shelter:

• Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
• Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
• Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
• Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

Weather: Tornado warning is over

August 4, 2020, 5:09 am

TribeAlert: The tornado warning is over, but remain alert for changing conditions If you hear the siren, take shelter immediately.

Weather: Tornado Warning

August 4, 2020, 4:21 am

TribeAlert: A tornado has been sighted or is likely. Remain indoors, seek shelter on lowest level and stay until all-clear message.

Weather: Tornado Watch

August 4, 2020, 2:33 am

The Williamsburg area is currently under a tornado watch. This means conditions are favorable for a tornado. Heavy rain and high winds are also in the forecast. Tune to your local weather station for current weather conditions and plan what you will do and where to go if a tornado warning is issued. If you hear the university's emergency siren during this period, please take shelter in the lowest level of the closest building.

As a reminder, here are the additional weather alerts we could see and instructions for recommended action under those conditions:

Tornado Warning: means a tornado has already been spotted or that Doppler radar is indicating storm circulation that can quickly spawn a tornado. In the event of a tornado warning, the campus emergency siren will sound. You should seek shelter in a basement or an interior hallway of a sturdy building immediately.

In the event of a tornado warning, take shelter in a basement, storm cellar, or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors, and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. Get under a sturdy table and use your arms to protect your head and neck. Do not open windows.

If you cannot reach a stable shelter:

• Lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of the potential for flooding.
• Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.
• Never try to outrun a tornado in urban or congested areas in a car or truck. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
• Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris from tornadoes causes most fatalities and injuries.

Tropical Storm Isaias Update

August 3, 2020, 2:28 pm

Dear William & Mary community –

Due to Tropical Storm Isaias, the Provost has closed the university Tuesday, Aug. 4 for on-campus and remote work. A reopening time will be set once damage assessments have been made and communicated via the university’s emergency messaging system. Essential personnel should contact their supervisors. Only those employees required to be on campus on Tuesday should be there.

Isaias continues to track northward along the eastern U.S. coastline. The National Weather Service predicts the storm will make landfall near the South Carolina/North Carolina border later today as a category 1 hurricane then weaken to a tropical storm before reaching Virginia.
Williamsburg is currently under a Tropical Storm Warning.

Here’s what to expect in Williamsburg and across our region beginning in the early-morning hours Tuesday into the early afternoon:
Sustained winds of 40-50 mph with gusts in the 60s are expected.

- High risk of power outages.
- Potential for bridge as well as ferry service closures.
- Periods of heavy rainfall could trigger some flash flooding.
- Conditions favorable for tornados.
- Travel caution is advised.

Department heads should move forward with necessary planning and preliminary steps within their department that may be needed for a storm event. Facilities Management continues to make necessary storm preparations across campus, including construction zones.

Also, please familiarize yourself with the numerous ways William & Mary has to communicate to the campus community during an emergency. If you have not yet enrolled in the university's mass notification system, https://personalinfo.wm.edu/, please do so in Banner personal service. In addition to the emergency notifications received through RAVE – text, email, siren and Alertus (a notification to your computer screen) – you may also receive notifications by following W&M News on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/wmnews/ - or Twitter, - https://www.twitter.com/wmnews - or by using the W&M mobile app - https://www.wm.edu/mobileapps/.

Stay safe,

Ginger Ambler, EMT co-chair
Deborah Cheesebro, EMT co-chair

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Isaias

July 31, 2020, 8:06 pm

Dear William & Mary community –

Hurricane Season 2020 is upon us and there is currently a CAT 1 hurricane, Isaias, in the Atlantic near the Bahamas. The system reached hurricane status yesterday and it is forecasted to impact Florida this weekend. Warnings and watches have been posted up the eastern coastline.

The future path of this storm, and therefore full impact on the Williamsburg area, is unclear at this point. The system is forecast to be off the coast of North Carolina and Virginia on Monday/Tuesday at tropical storm strength.

The storm is carrying heavy rain and strong winds. The potential exists for sustained winds between 30 and 35 mph with gusts above 50 mph in our area.

University offices were to begin their fall 2020 work schedules this week with more employees expected on campus, that start date is being moved to Wednesday, Aug. 5. Anyone traveling in the southeast U.S. this weekend, or to Williamsburg at the beginning of next week, should use caution and monitor the system carefully.

The Emergency Management Team will continue to monitor the system and message further if necessary.

Stay safe,

Ginger Ambler, EMT co-chair
Deborah Cheesebro, EMT co-chair