Archive: Hurricane Matthew Update #4

Thursday, October 6, at 9:00 a.m.

Changes since the last update

As of the 11:00 p.m. October 5 advisory by the National Weather Service last night, we are under a Hurricane Warning. A warning means that the threat is imminent (effects will begin being felt within 24 hours) or occurring now.

Hurricane Matthew is currently a category 3 storm (sustained winds of 125 mph), but is forecast to strengthen back to a category 4 (sustained winds of 130 mph or more) today.

The center (eye) of Hurricane Matthew is about 500 miles southeast of Mayport. Hurricanes can be several hundred miles in diameter including outer bands, and the effects of the system can often be felt hours and even days before hurricane conditions begin.

We are also under a Flood Watch as a result of the Nor’easter that’s moved through the area over the last couple of days, and all that rainfall will make our flood-prone areas even moreso.

Weather

Based on the most recent predictions of the National Weather Service, we are expecting bands of heavy rain and intense gusts to increase throughout the day, beginning late this morning. These will be very much like strong the strong tropical thunderstorms we experience on a regular basis but throughout the day will begin to intensify. Between the bands could be relative calm, however, you should use caution if heading out doors.

Tomorrow, we will likely begin to experience hurricane conditions in the afternoon and evening, where we will begin to experience sustained high winds with higher gusts as the bands consolidate.

In total, the National Weather Service expects we will experience heavy rain, damaging winds, localized flooding, and high storm tide.

Evacuations

Evacuation orders have been issued for Jacksonville Beach and zones A and B (particularly low lying and coastal exposed areas). Jacksonville University is not in an evacuation zone, because much of our campus -- especially Oak and Botts Halls -- is on high ground. We have resources and infrastructure that make our campus 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.

We strongly encourage everyone who is still on campus to stay put. We know that this storm is frightening, and we cannot stop anyone who wants to leave. It is important to understand, though, that road deteriorations will deteriorate quickly today, and highways are already so busy that Highway Patrol is struggling to reach all of the accidents that have also occurred. There are no plans as of yet to reverse flow of traffic for evacuation, which will also contribute to busier than normal roadways. It is also very possible that Jacksonville bridges will close without warning and for an unknown span of time. At this point, leaving campus could be more dangerous than staying put and hunkering down.

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. It is imperative that you CHECK OUT before leaving so the University knows where you are going and has current contact information for you.

Communication

Make sure your phone is charged, as we will be communicating with you by email, social media, and the website throughout the storm. Emergency alerts will be sent via text.

For continued updates, please check our Facebook, Twitter, and the website. If you have questions, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.