VCU to close Thursday, Friday as Hurricane Florence approaches

Nia Tariq
News Editor

VCU will remain open Wednesday, but will close Thursday and Friday in anticipation of incoming category four Hurricane Florence — VCU Medical Center will remain operational.

A VCU Alert was sent out on Tuesday that the university will shut down for the inclement weather, and will remain closed until Sunday, Sept. 16.

Hurricane Florence is the first hurricane threatening Virginia to peak at category four since Hurricane Hazel in October 1954.

“I urge members of the community to use caution when traveling,” said Meredith Weiss, vice president of VCU administration in a newsletter emailed to the VCU community. “Heavy rain can cause flooding on streets and in low-lying areas. Do not try to walk or drive through these areas. And if conditions worsen, there could be downed power lines.”

Some of the worst storms to affect the Central Virginia region in particular have been Hurricane Camille in 1969 — peaking at category five and weakening to a tropical depression over Virginia; Hurricane Isabel in 2003 — peaking at category five and maintaining category two status over Virginia; Hurricane Gaston in 2004 — peaking at category one and weakening to a tropical depression over Virginia; Hurricane Ernesto in 2006 — peaking at category one and weaking to a tropical storm over Virginia; and Hurricane Irene in 2011 — peaking at category three and weakening to category one over Virginia.

Bryan Youmbi-Kemeni, a senior, tweeted his opinion about the incoming storm. The post, garnering hundreds of likes and retweets, mocked the “VCU logic” behind cancelling the traditional block party event during welcome week due to light rain, while taking their time to cancel class for Florence’s impending threat.

Other students, such as senior Marni Gaw, say they are thankful Richmond is not in an evacuation zone.

“I guess I would care if I was in Virginia Beach with my family because it’s close to the water,” Gaw said. “But since I’m in Richmond and it’s more inland as opposed to the beach, then it’s not as scary.”

Along the coasts of the Carolinas and in some parts of the Tidewater region, mandatory evacuations have been issued. Although Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam have both declared states of emergency, neither the MCV nor the Monroe Park campuses are located in evacuation zones.

According to VCU Parking and Transportation services, starting Sept. 12, the gates on the West Broad Street and Bowe Street decks will be open for students to park their vehicles until the storm concludes. For MCV commuters, M Lot and R Lot subscribers should park in Eighth Street Deck on Thursday and Friday, while A Lot subscribers should park in the N Deck.

According to the VCU Alert, residence halls will remain open and essential personnel should report to work. Shafer Court Dining Center and Jonah’s will remain open, while RamSafe and GRTC buses will continue to run unless street conditions become dangerous. RamRide, which includes the Campus Connector will not be in service from Thursday to Sunday, with the exception of the I Lot shuttle.

“The specific impacts of Hurricane Florence remain uncertain in Central Virginia but residents can expect the possibility of strong winds and heavy rain, which could produce flooding,” Weiss said. “We encourage our community to monitor local weather forecasts closely or visit the National Hurricane Center for the latest information.”
A list of hurricane preparedness tips can be found at ready.gov/hurricanes.

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