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Hurricane Florence Updates

Regular updates and information will be posted to this webpage.

1:30 p.m. September 17, 2018

How you can help

Davidson College has weathered the storm, and our students, faculty and staff are mobilizing to help our neighbors here and elsewhere in the Carolinas.

The Center for Civic Engagement and the student leaders of the Civic Engagement Council will coordinate relief efforts through a centralized process:

  • The CCE and the CEC are convening interested individuals and groups - including students, faculty and staff - to offer a collaborative, unified response to relief efforts.
  • Relief efforts will include any local, direct service needs; regional opportunities; and fundraising efforts that can provide crucial resources to areas that won't be ready for volunteers for quite some time due to the extent of damage.
  • The CCE already has relationships with and infrastructure for posting direct service and project-based opportunities in the community. The CCE is pulling together a list of opportunities specific to hurricane Florence. This is located on the community page of WildcatSync

Two events are scheduled for this week - details are available at WildcatSync:

  • Planning meeting during Common Hour on Tuesday, Sept. 18, for those interested in participating in relief efforts.
  • Campus clean up during Common Hour, Thursday, Sept. 20, Thursday's Common Hour, in partnership with physical plant staff. Please do not attempt to clean up campus before Thursday as the ground must dry out before conditions become favorable for that effort.

Donate

  • A financial contribution to reputable relief organizations is one of the most effective ways to support relief efforts. If you prefer to make a donation in the aftermath of the storm, be sure to visit Charity Navigator to help assess an organization's effectiveness in managing donated funds.

Community organizations or individuals should reach out to Taylor Brendle (tabrendle@davidson.edu) with needs. Please follow the Center for Civic Engagement on social media for additional information.

6:00 a.m. September 17, 2018

After the storm

Good Monday morning,

Today:

  • Classes continue as scheduled, and the college will operate on a normal schedule.
  • Please be careful moving around campus as debris has fallen, and the ground is saturated. We lost several trees in the storm, and another could still come down.
  • Exercise caution if you drive off campus.
  • Faculty and staff driving in from Charlotte should pay attention to road closings, allow additional time and exercise caution.
  • Recognizing isolated road hazards and that CMS and some other schools systems are closed for the day, please remember that staff employees who cannot make it to work today may use personal leave time or vacation, if necessary.

Campus clean up after the storm
Our students, faculty and staff appreciate the tremendous efforts that have been made on campus to ensure their safety. In the aftermath of the storm, many have expressed a desire to help with clean up and other efforts to return campus to normal operations. Thank you! While there will be opportunities to help, right now the best thing everyone on campus can do is stay safe and exercise good judgment. Please stay away from hazards, such as downed tree limbs and debris. Report these to Campus Police at 704-894-2178.

Regional relief efforts
The Center for Civic Engagement and Civic Engagement Council will coordinate our regional relief efforts, so please look for a post about those forthcoming efforts and follow their social media accounts for the latest on how to help communities across the Carolinas in the aftermath of the storm.

12:10 p.m. September 16, 2018

Florence lingers

We hope everyone is hanging in through the storm, and our thoughts remain with our families and friends who were in Florence's path.

If you are on campus, we hope you are enjoying Sunday brunch at Vail, courtesy of our staff, who have the dining facilities running as usual this morning.

The Davis Café grill, in the Alvarez College Union, will shut down at 8 p.m., and sale of prepackaged food and all drinks will continue until 10:30 p.m.

The library remains on CatCard access today.

We lost a few trees on campus, including an oak near Richardson Stadium, so we emphasize, again: STAY INDOORS unless you are going to eat or study.

The Main Street and Jackson Street edges of campus, which are on a separate circuit from most of campus, lost power for two hours during the night when a limb fell on a switch on an electrical pole. The 10 students in Eco House were affected, if they woke up. The rest of the campus slept peacefully, benefitting from underground power lines.

Our resilient facilities staff continue to clear drains to guard against backups.

We want to thank our amazing Davidson parents who have sent kind notes, including this exchange, which you might appreciate:

Screenshot of Instagram Comments

As we stretch into our second full day of rain, we asked Dave Backus, assistant professor of environmental studies, for help understanding Florence's endurance:

"Hurricanes feed off of the heat from the surface of the ocean, and the waters off of the southeast coast of the United States were about three degrees [F] warmer than usual this year," he said. "More heat energy in the ocean makes it easier for a storm to increase in magnitude. However, if a hurricane stays out at sea, then we don't see the heavy rainfall. Florence is big and is stalled near the coast, so water vapor continues to be drawn off of the ocean nearby. As long as Florence sits near the coast it has the capacity to draw on the heat energy of the ocean. That energy translates directly into rainfall as the storm releases heat energy to the atmosphere."

Here's the latest forecast:

Today - Showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 1pm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. High near 74. Breezy, with an east wind 16 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 2 and 3 inches possible.

Tonight - Showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 4am. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Low around 71. East wind 7 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between 2 and 3 inches possible.

Monday - Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before 9am, then showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly between 9am and 3pm. Patchy fog before noon. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a high near 82. South southwest wind 8 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Our team on campus continues to monitor weather, power, roads and campus operations and are ready to tackle any obstacles.

Our cautions to students:

  • Stay on campus.
  • Stay indoors. Falling tree limbs and uprooted trees remain potential hazards.
  • Stay away from flooded roads, downed power lines and other hazards.
  • Don't drive.

Watch our hurricane webpage for updates.

1:30 p.m. September 15, 2018

The rain of Florence

Good afternoon. We hope everyone in the range of now-Tropical Storm Florence remains safe and as dry as possible.

In addition to reports from the National Weather Service, we checked in with Davidson's own Brad Johnson, assistant professor of environmental science, who runs the weather station in the E. Craig Wall Center.

"Despite the incredible scale of Florence - it's predicted to be twice the size of anything I've seen - (the town of) Davidson should not be subject to much flooding," Johnson said. "We are fortunate to be in the headwaters of the river system. While I expect a lot of water will move through our small streams, we don't have much in the way of larger streams that can leave their banks and flood buildings. Downstream, however, especially in Charlotte, I expect flooding to be a big problem."

Students are heeding cautions to stay indoors, dodging the drops primarily to go to meals or go study. Here's a brief glimpse of campus around midday.

So far, Florence has brought only rain to campus, but our team will continue to monitor and aim to anticipate challenges. The library's switch to essentially self-service is the latest adjustment.

We continue to urge students to:

  • Stay on campus.
  • Stay indoors.
  • Stay away from flooded roads, downed power lines and other hazards.
  • Don't drive.

Here's the latest from the forecast:

The heaviest rain looks to move in Saturday afternoon into Sunday - especially overnight into Sunday morning. The rainfall rate on Sunday could exaggerate flooding issues. Forecasters expect the most flooding issues on Sunday. 

The duration of the storm will be Saturday afternoon through Sunday with rain tapering off and becoming more scattered Sunday night. On Monday, the Charlotte area could see some showers and thunderstorms which could produce heavy rain as well, but forecasters don't anticipate an all day persistent rain like on Sunday. 

This likely will be our last update today, but we will be back tomorrow.

11:15 a.m. September 15, 2018

Library access update

The E. H. Little library will be CatCard access only until Monday at 8 a.m. (Reserve materials will be available via self-serve, along with self-service book checkout.)

9:45 a.m. September 15, 2018

Florence arrives on campus

Good morning. Our thoughts are with all those in Wilmington and nearby coastal areas who are enduring the worst of this storm.

Here's a view of dawn before the rain on the Davidson College campus.

Campus is operating normally this morning. The rain has started to roll in, and it is expected to continue throughout the day. Our team on campus is continuously monitoring events so that we can make any changes, anticipate challenges or respond to any problems.

Major events that had been scheduled for this weekend have been canceled.

Florence is a slow-moving tropical storm. Rain and wind gusts will likely continue throughout the weekend. The safest place to be during this storm is indoors. Our residence life and student life team are here to support students during this time. PLEASE remember these safety precautions:

  • Stay on campus and stay indoors as much as possible. 
  • DO NOT DRIVE into water or when there is a danger of flooding (like now). Friends don't let friends drive in these conditions.
  • Stay away from hazards (e.g. downed tree limbs, debris). Report these to Campus Police at 704-894-2178.
  • Contact your Residence Life Office staff member if you need to leave campus.
  • Keep your cell phone charged.
  • Read your email.

Here's the latest forecast for Davidson from the National Weather Service:

Today
Showers. The rain could be heavy at times. Patchy fog between 10am and 1pm. High near 75. Windy, with a north northeast wind 23 to 28 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New precipitation amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible

Tonight
Showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 2am. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Patchy fog after 7pm. Low around 70. Windy, with a northeast wind 17 to 26 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 3 and 4 inches possible.

Sunday
Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Patchy fog. High near 75. Breezy, with an east southeast wind 14 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts in excess of 4 inches possible.

Stay safe.

1:15 p.m. September 14, 2018

Davidson is ready

We want students, faculty and staff and Davidson families checking in from across the country and around the globe to know that the campus is prepared for Hurricane Florence.

THE LATEST FORECAST:

From the Mecklenburg County, N.C., Emergency Operations Center - The current track of the storm will place Charlotte directly in the heavy rain. (Davidson is 19 miles north of the city, and the storm is tracking south of Charlotte.) There is still some minor movement that could bring this heavy rain band north or south, but it is increasingly likely that we will see major to catastrophic flooding in parts of the Charlotte metro area. (Davidson College is not in a flood plain.) Rainfall amounts of 6-12 inches are possible over just a two- to three-day period. Saturated soil could mean trees toppling and taking out power lines, and the risk of isolated tornadoes remains.

Tonight:

A 50 percent chance of showers, mainly after 9pm. Cloudy, with a low around 72. Breezy, with a north wind 21 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Saturday:

Showers likely. The rain could be heavy at times. Patchy fog before 9am. Otherwise, cloudy, with a high near 78. Breezy, with a north northeast wind around 22 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.

Saturday Night:

Showers. Low around 70. Breezy, with a north northeast wind 21 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between 2 and 3 inches possible.

WHAT THAT MEANS:

We could lose power, see problems with flooded roads and potentially have trees and other debris down on campus. Our Hurricane Florence webpage has extensive information about safety precautions and preparation, as well as links to a variety of weather and safety information. PLEASE READ THOSE MESSAGES. Here are the important highlights...

  • We encourage students to stay on campus through the weekend. Our buildings are constructed for severe weather, and our staff is ready to help you.
  • Stay away from any dangerous conditions, such as flooded roads or downed power lines. Call Campus Police at 704-894-2178.
  • If students have special medical needs, such as refrigerating medicine, please make sure you have made arrangements with your Residence Life Office staff member or call the Residence Life Office at 704-894-2188.
  • Vail Commons will still serve meals and will be the ONLY place on campus to get food during a power outage.
  • During a power outage, Vail and the Alvarez College Union will have power and communication.
  • Make sure your cell phone and, if you have one, external battery are fully charged before the storm.
  • An extended power outage may eventually cause cell towers to fail. If that happens and we still have internet capacity at Vail and the Union, you can use wifi calling on your phone at those locations.
  • Do NOT use candles in the residence halls.
  • Any emergency information will be communicated through the SSAFER system via text, phone and email. Follow instructions from RLO staff.

Please watch our hurricane webpage for updated information. We will communicate through this page, our social media channels, email and, if necessary, text via the SSAFER system.

Davidson and the state of North Carolina have a lot of experience with hurricanes, so we have taken the steps and made the preparations to put us in the best circumstances possible.

Stay safe.

5:00 p.m. September 13, 2018

Campus prepared for weekend weather

We know that Davidson families remain concerned about the approach of Hurricane Florence and want to let you know that Davidson College staff continue to diligently prepare and plan for the storm. Current forecasts show that coastal areas will be hardest hit and that the biggest concerns for our region are wind and rain, which may cause flooding and downed trees. Staff across our divisions have taken and continue to take proactive steps to prepare for the storm and its potential impacts.

Given our unique campus and community, we encourage students to remain on campus through the weekend. Please know that Davidson's buildings and infrastructure are built for severe weather and our extraordinary staff is prepared and dedicated to meet the needs of students under these conditions. We have contingency plans for power outages and other potential challenges. Our residence life team is here to support and help anyone who is anxious or worried about family living near the coast.

Should students decide to leave campus, they are asked to inform Residence Life Office staff and others of their plans. To be safe, students should NOT travel once the rain begins. No one should be driving during heavy rain with an ongoing risk of flooding. Downed trees or downed power lines may cause safety hazards in our area. It is important to remember NEVER to drive into a flooded area.

You can find road and driving conditions in North Carolina at www.drivenc.gov. Additional flood safety tips can be found at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/water/tadd/.

We recognize that watching and waiting for a storm like this to arrive can contribute to anxiety and stress. Please know that our teams are well prepared and will continue to monitor conditions as they change tomorrow, through the weekend and into next week. We will share any new updates on this website: www.davidson.edu/hurricane-florence. Please bookmark this site and share it with your family and friends.

Our residence life teams are proactively working with students with special medical or other needs to ensure that everyone is prepared in the case of a power outage or other issues. Students who anticipate needing to refrigerate medication or have any other unique need that might be impacted by power loss or other conditions should contact our RLO staff directly at: 704-894-2225 if they have not already done so.

One thing we can all do while we wait is take some time now, before the storm arrives, to ensure we have good communications plans in place with our friends and family. You can get started at https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan. We also recommend that you familiarize yourself with the weather tracking and additional resources shared on this page (please see the right column for desktop viewers or the bottom of page for mobile viewers).

Unless we have any new information, this will be our only update today. We will share another update tomorrow (or earlier if necessary).

3:30 p.m. September 12, 2018

Classes as scheduled at Davidson College

We are grateful for the concern expressed for everyone’s safety at Davidson by members of the Davidson community, far and wide.

One question that has come up, on campus and off, is about class schedules. Classes remain as scheduled for the rest of this week.

No class schedule changes have been made for Monday, Sept. 17. Should Monday's class schedule be changed, you will be notified by 6 a.m. Monday morning here and via all of the college's communication channels.

The college has taken extensive steps in preparation for the storm. For example, we are equipped with generators and food supplies to feed the entire campus during a power outage, and have the capacity to maintain power and communication access at strategic points on campus. President Quillen’s message to the campus on Monday includes important information on safety and preparation, including the following:

  • Where students should take shelter
  • How everyone on campus will be contacted
  • Where to find information on the internet
  • What to do during a power outage
  • Where to get meals
  • How to get information about changes in access to the residence halls
  • Who to call in the event of dangerous conditions, such as flooding or downed power lines
  • Don’t use candles in residence halls

We understand larger institutions have made decisions taking into account the needs of commuter students, students and campus operations spread over multiple campus locations, and other factors. Since our students are, with very few exceptions, right here in our residence halls, in a concentrated area, we can and have taken precautions that make sense for this community and will continue to monitor the situation and communicate with students, faculty and staff.

Please continue to watch this webpage, as well as the college’s social media channels, for updated information.

If you are a Davidson parent and your student did not receive President Quillen’s message, please contact Student Life at 704-894-2225.