Archive: Hurricane Irma Update #2

Wednesday, September 6, at 12:15 p.m.

Based on recent forecasts and our communication with local authorities, the Governor’s Office, and the National Weather Service, Jacksonville University will be closed Friday, September 7, through Tuesday, September 12.

Updates on Irma

At 8:00 a.m., Category 5 Hurricane Irma was about 1,425 miles southeast of Mayport, Florida. The most recent forecasts predict that the storm will turn north and make its way up the Florida peninsula. When and where Irma makes this northward turn will greatly influence the extent and severity of the weather we can expect here in Jacksonville, but probabilities are increasing that the Jacksonville area will experience some degree of tropical storm-type weather as early as Saturday afternoon.

We are also expecting some severe weather today (Wednesday) from a separate front, unrelated to Hurricane Irma, that is descending into the area.

Regarding Voluntary Evacuations

Although the local authorities have not issued an evacuation order, we recognize that many of our students come from outside of Florida. We want to provide as much time as possible for those who choose to leave to travel safely to their destinations before and after the storm.

As in past tropical weather events, we are fully prepared under the current forecast weather conditions to safely house students on campus. We have resources and infrastructure on campus that make this one of the safest places our students and residential staff can be, including generators for food storage and plumbing, stores of food to get us through several days, backup water, active campus security, and on-duty physical plant staff for emergencies. As with Hurricane Matthew, should conditions call for it, we will relocate residents of North Hall and the Village Apartments to Oak and Williams halls.

This relocation would be for convenience and access to dining, medical care, ingress and egress to campus, and for the safety of our students and staff who would otherwise have to traverse the campus during a significant weather and rain event.

If you choose to leave…

  • It is very important to have a specific destination in mind and confirmed plans in place for arrival. Hotels and roads will be full and you cannot expect to have a room without a reservation. If you are traveling to friends or family - be sure they know you are coming and have not themselves evacuated. Some gas stations have also been running out of fuel, which could create an even more dangerous situation if you run out of gas along the way.
  • Traveling by car: If you do choose to leave, consider taking friends and roommates with you. Consider whether the place you are relocating to is safer than your current location, including the driving and road conditions before making the decision to leave. Because many people are already on the road to evacuate from south Florida, highways are busy and will remain so.
  • Traveling by air: We encourage you to make plans early and to carpool to the airport with others.
  • You are required to check out before leaving so the University knows where you are going and has current contact information for you. The checkout form is available at www.ju.edu/checkout. Please also let your family know your plans. If you are in Oak or Williams Hall, please prepare your room for the possibility that others may stay in your room while you are away should we relocate North and Village residents to the south campus residence halls.
  • If you are leaving your car on campus, please move your car to the Oak Hall parking garage (Lot K), high ground on River Road (near Oak and Botts), and, if necessary, the Gooding parking lot. Do not park your car under or near trees.

If you are remaining on campus…

If you are staying, we are fully prepared to safely care for you on campus. North and Village Apartment residents should be prepared, should conditions call for it, to relocate to Oak and Williams Hall.

  • Anyone remaining on campus should plan to move their car to the Oak Hall parking garage (Lot K), high ground on River Road (near Oak and Botts), and, if necessary, the Gooding parking lot. Do not park your car under or near trees.
  • RAs will be a primary method of communication for students staying on campus. They will go door-to-door, or leave notes under the doors. Please also continue to check your JU email.

Regardless of whether you leave or stay:

Today and tomorrow, local members of the JU community should:

  • Get cash. If the power goes out -- and stays out even after storm passes -- ATMs and card readers will not be available. It’s a good idea to have a bit of cash on hand, just in case.
  • Fill up the gas tank in your car. Again, if our area experiences extended power outages, fuel pumps will not be available.
  • Charge your phone. Emergency alerts, like tornado warnings, will be sent via text message. Please turn off any ‘Do Not Disturb’ functionality your phone has, and turn up the volume so you get those notifications.

Safety Tips

Water Recreation

We strongly recommend that our students and visitors to campus this week and next avoid water recreation. This is especially important at the beach, where rough surf and dangerous rip currents will certainly be a threat, even before we begin to experience inclement weather from the hurricane. Please, if you plan to go to the beach, stay out of the water, both for your safety and for the safety of the emergency responders. Powerful waves and rip currents can be a grave danger even to the most experienced swimmers.

Next Update

We will do a Facebook Live chat to answer any questions you may have at 2:00 p.m. EDT with our Senior VP of Student Affairs, Kristie Gover, and Senior VP of Enrollment Management & Communications, Margaret Dees. There will be a Facebook post for you to send in questions ahead of time, or you can join us at 2:00 to ask in real time.