Hurricane Sandy forces Union and region to prepare

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By Ryan Semerad

Hurricane Sandy – reclassified on October 29 as a post-tropical storm – appears to have avoided the capital region.

Union College and the surrounding regions were prepared for this historic and devastating storm; however, as of the time this article was written, the campus and the surrounding areas received little of the crippling wind, rain and snow that has devastated a great swatch of the Northeast.

On Sunday October 28 at 5:42 p.m., Director of Campus Safety Chris Hayen contacted all students, faculty, and staff with the preliminary predictions of the storm. He provided a forecast of “2-4 inches” of precipitation along with up to “55 mph gusts.” Hayen notified that campus that he would be meeting with “local emergency personnel” early Monday.

On Monday October 29 at 9:57 a.m., Hayen sent out a second email to the campus updating his forecast as well as providing detailed information about how to prepare for the storm.

His second forecast expected much less precipitation, ranging from “a tenth [to] a quarter of an inch” for the day and night.

He informed the campus that the greatest threat he anticipated was power outage. As of Tuesday morning, no buildings on campus had lost power.

In the event of such an outage, however, Hayen recommended unplugging electronic devices, having cell phones charged and flashlights with fresh batteries on hand.

He also described where food would be available, and which buildings would have full power due to generators.

In addition to Hayen’s emails, Molly MacElroy contacted students on Monday October 29 at 3:58 p.m. to address housing concerns, storm preparation and other emergency information. MacElroy focused on what to do in the event of a power outage as well.

She recommended students “charge cell phones or other necessary electronic devices, fill up water bottles, grab extra snacks from the dining facilities [and] use the hot water while you can in case the power goes out.” She also warned students to not use candles and to stay inside away from windows during the brunt of the storm.

On campus several buildings and facilities closed early on Monday. At 2 p.m. on Monday, the campus was notified by campus safety that “administrative offices and all non-essential service areas [would] close at 3 p.m.”

This meant that the library and the campus store would close early. Dining services remained open. Many night classes and activities were cancelled due to potentially unsafe driving conditions predicted to take place after 5 p.m.. As of Tuesday morning, all facilities, buildings and classes would resume normally.

In the surrounding region, many schools and businesses were closed on Monday and may remain closed through Tuesday. The storm has been “merciful” to the region, according to the Times Union.

Albany International Airport will resume flights at 12:10 p.m. on Tuesday. While the storm has been benign for the capital region specifically, the upstate area was not left unaffected as there were approximately 420,000 outages in the area according to Michael Hill of the Associated Press.

The campus and the surrounding areas have taken many precautions to ensure the safety of the campus and local community. ­­­

Though the storm avoided the immediate area, many areas throughout the state have been severely impacted.

 

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