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Preparing for Florence

Monday, Sept. 17

University and local officials continue to monitor Tropical Depression Florence as it moves through our area. The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Advisory for the City of Lexington and Rockbridge County until 12:00 p.m. today. There is also Flash Flood Warning for our area through this evening. Please continue to monitor news and weather sources throughout the day.

Friday, Sept. 14

The GRE scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 15, in the Science Center has been cancelled.

Thursday, Sept. 13

Recent weather forecasts show a shift in the path of Hurricane Florence to the south, reducing the immediate threat of severe weather in our area. Predictions now call for rain and gusty winds in some parts of our region as early as Friday evening, with extended heavy rainfall beginning on Sunday and into early next week. Extensive and widespread flooding remains possible. 20-30 mph winds combined with already saturated ground may result in downed trees and power lines. Widespread power outages remain a concern. Please continue to monitor news and weather sources as the storm progresses.

On campus, there is a significant likelihood of flooding for Woods Creek, which may result in the closure of the Dell and the bridges and road behind Leyburn Library. Students, faculty and staff should plan to avoid the area behind Woods Creek Apartments and the library. We do not anticipate that the Woods Creek Apartments will be affected, but will continue to monitor the area and other issues around campus, and communicate additional information as needed.

If you notice flooding, leaks or clogged drainage, please report them to Public Safety at x8999 or via the LiveSafe app.

All home athletic events scheduled for the weekend have been cancelled, along with many other campus events, including Young Alumni Weekend, the Black and White Ball and the Unity Cookout. Please refer to Campus Notices, email, the university website and social media channels for updates on other events scheduled in the coming days.

Students with concerns about accessing food or temporary housing, should refer to the message below.

Tuesday, Sept. 11

Washington and Lee University and the City of Lexington are monitoring the approach of Hurricane Florence as it prepares to make landfall later this week. Updates will be posted to this page.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency for the entire commonwealth. Current weather predictions include both high winds and heavy rainfall in our area beginning late this week and throughout the weekend, which may result in downed power lines, widespread power outages and flash flooding. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to monitor news and weather sources as the storm develops.

Facilities Management and Dining Services are preparing to provide emergency power and meals for students on campus in the event of severe power outages.

Many events, including Young Alumni Weekend and several athletic contests, have been cancelled in anticipation of this storm. Check the W&L website and social media channels for status updates on events scheduled in the coming days.

Information about Class Cancellations or Delays

In inclement weather, assume the university will remain open on schedule unless there is an official announcement to the contrary via General Alerts messages on text, email, the LiveSafe app and the university website. More information about the delay and closing policy and official notifications can be found at inclementweather.wlu.edu.

Please note: The university might operate on schedule, even when area schools and businesses are closed or delayed. Therefore, always check your text messages, email, the LiveSafe app and/or the W&L website for the latest update or to verify any TV/radio cancellation announcements, because public media announcements are sometimes wrong.

In Case of High Winds or Flooding:

Should a high wind or flood warning be issued, the university will issue a message via the General Alerts system. If severe flooding poses a threat to your safety inside a building, evacuate the area. If it is safer to remain inside the building, shelter in place. Contact Public Safety at (540) 458-8999 (x8999 on campus) and report the exact location and severity of the flooding. If you are stranded and need emergency assistance, dial 911.

For more information about what to do in a flood or high winds, consult W&L’s Emergency Management Plan, which is also available offline via the LiveSafe app.

Traveling to and from Campus in Inclement Weather:

In remaining open, the university does not advise anyone to travel who feels that he or she cannot do so safely. All students, faculty and staff should exercise their best personal judgment with regard to their own local road conditions and other safety concerns. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE ACROSS FLOODED ROADS.

Road conditions in and around Lexington are available at inclementweather.wlu.edu. For more information about flood and hurricane safety, visit www.weather.gov/safety.

Students should communicate directly with professors if they are unable to safely get to campus.

Faculty members are asked to be understanding about student absence. Faculty members who cannot safely travel to campus should notify their department and/or respective dean’s office in a timely manner so that a notice can be posted in the classroom if possible. Faculty members also are encouraged to email their students directly if class will not be held.

Staff members should notify their immediate supervisors of their personal decisions to delay arrival or be absent. For additional information regarding the university’s inclement weather policy for employees, including special instructions for essential personnel, please see pp. 86-87 of the Employee Handbook.

Preparing for a Hurricane or Flood:

  • Assemble an Emergency Kit, including water, nonperishable food, flashlight, batteries, and prescription medications.
  • Charge your cell phone.
  • Unplug small appliances, including stereos, TVs, electronic equipment and lamps.
  • Bring inside anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture, etc.)
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage in case of a power outage.
  • Pick up items on floors and store them in drawers or closets.
  • Move upholstered furniture away from windows.
  • Close and lock your windows.
  • Back up computer data and take a copy with you if you evacuate.
  • Cover your computer and other electronic equipment with plastic sheeting or large plastic garbage bags.
  • Be aware of changing weather conditions and monitor local news sources as the storm moves into the area.
  • Remember that standard insurance does not cover damage caused by flooding.

For those living off campus:

  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Coordinate an evacuation plan with your housemates or family members.
  • Students who live in low-lying areas off campus should consider staying with friends on campus for the duration of the storm, or contact Student Affairs for assistance.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank.
  • Avoid flash floods, underwater roads or washed out bridges. Do not drive into standing water.