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Don’t get blown away this hurricane season

By Allison Crady
On June 17, 2014
Hurricane graphic

Graphic by
Cyprien Campeaux

Louisiana constituents, as well as other southeastern regions, can look forward to an ease in natural hazards for this year’s hurricane season. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook which reports a 50 percent chance of a below-normal season, with one to two major hurricanes in store. Additionally, NOAA foresees eight to 13 named storms and three to six hurricanes. The agency’s site, noaa.gov, provides more outlook information, including definitions for above-, near- and below-normal seasons. 

The university works to ensure the safety of students and staff by closely monitoring and preparing for each hurricane season. 

“The university prepares diligently for hurricane season and has a tried and tested protocol for handling hurricane season,” said Dr. Kay Maurin, director of University Housing. “The administration is well prepared and very experienced. The safety of our students and facilities are top priority.”

Depending on the severity of each storm, the university would close campus and encourage students to evacuate. However, for students who are unable to leave, housing provides shelter in the University Center until the storm passes and campus reopens. 

The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season starts June 1 and will last until Nov. 30. The Federal Emergency Management Agency works to mitigate the effects of each hurricane season. FEMA provides Risk Mapping, Assessment and Planning, which lists news and updates concerning each region’s natural hazard risks. Visit Risk MAP at riskmap6.com for updates in Louisiana parishes, part of Region 6. 

FEMA additionally provides a list of items to consider for an emergency kit such as maps, any needed medications, batteries, cash, important documents, non-perishable foods, flashlights, comfortable clothing, a first aid kit, water and blankets. Families are strongly encouraged to develop a plan now for continued safety.

Though the hurricane shelter was not needed last year, University Housing made some purchases to improve student living conditions in case of an emergency. 

“Last year, we purchased additional emergency lighting for the shelter housed in the University Center,” said Maurin. “The lighting is in the restroom area and makes the space more accessible. Fortunately, the shelter wasn’t needed d,uring last hurricane season.”

Stay safe rather than sorry by visiting ready.gov, sponsored by FEMA, which helps citizens prepare, plan and stay informed. The site includes a Family Communication Plan as well as an Emergency Kit Checklist. This year’s “Resolve to be Ready” campaign focuses on family connection, recommending families consider who to call, where to meet and what to pack when making a plan. 

Though the prediction is below-normal, the university will continue to improve storm preparedness for the 2014 season. 

“As always, we will monitor the weather closely during Hurricane season,” said     Maurin.     “Should we encounter a storm, we are prepared and our staff is trained on our responsibilities as they relate to keeping our students and facilities safe.”

 

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