According to current National Weather Service reports, Hurricane Irene is expected to reach the Massachusetts coastline this weekend, with severe weather beginning as early as Saturday evening. At this time, the path of the hurricane is uncertain, but it is highly likely that parts of the state will experience high winds, heavy rains, astronomical high tides, and flooding.
This morning I consulted with our team at UMass Boston working on storm preparations and participated in a call with UMass System President Robert Caret to ensure that all campuses are taking appropriate and coordinated precautions. The UMass Boston team will meet again tomorrow via telephone, after we are more certain about the storm’s path, to discuss next steps and whether to close the campus entirely.
In the event the university closes the campus Sunday, or even part of Monday, depending on the severity of the storm, the university’s website – www.umb.edu – will be updated to note the closing status and we will use the normal inclement weather closing notification procedures. All individuals planning on coming to campus Monday should check the university website prior to travel regardless of the storm’s impact.
Members of the UMass Boston community are encouraged to take precautions and make personal preparations for the storm. For resources and information about the storm and preparing for it, we encourage you to visit the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency website.
In preparation for the storm, we urge you to:
- Turn off and unplug computers, printers, and other electrical appliances before leaving for the day
- Secure laboratory and research operations
- Get valuable equipment such as your computer off the floor in case of flooding or water leaks
- Allow for extra time when traveling to the campus; Morrissey Boulevard may flood, so those approaching from the south may want to consider an alternate route
With any storm, there is a degree of uncertainty surrounding the path and its possible impacts. Public safety and facilities staff will continue to meet to discuss different scenarios and make key decisions as they receive more information about Hurricane Irene. And we will continue to communicate with you as we learn any new information. Check your email and www.umb.edu for updates.