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The Blue & Gray Press | February 21, 2018

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Hurricane Irene Soaks Campus

Hurricane Irene Soaks Campus

The day after freshmen moved in, Thursday, Aug. 25, a little taste of what Hurricane Irene would bring hit the University of Mary Washington.

At 4:36 p.m., the UMW Emergency Alert system sent out an email instructing all students to seek shelter immediately.  As trees fell on College Avenue and neighboring streets, the thunderstorm warning was extended until 5:42 p.m.

The Fredericksburg campus lost power until approximately 10:38 p.m., according to the alert system.

The Thursday thunderstorm and the hurricane were isolated incidents, however.

Fall classes were scheduled to begin on Monday, Aug. 29, however, with the threat of Hurricane Irene, classes were canceled Monday. Students began classes on Tuesday, Aug. 30.  Move-in day for returning students was also postponed to Monday, Aug. 29, according to the alert system.

Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a state of emergency for Virginia on Thursday, according to the Washington Post.  While he did not mandate an evacuation, he gave local officials the authority to do so.

The Post reported that several Va. schools were evacuated, including Old Dominion University in Norfolk, the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Norfolk State University in Norfolk, and Christopher Newport University in Newport News.

“We have a group that comes together and they do a good job handling emergencies like this hurricane and the earthquake earlier [last] week,” said UMW President Rick Hurley.

President Hurley also stated that the biggest dangers to UMW were falling trees or loss of power.

According to Hurley, we are one of Dominion Power’s first priorities.

Paulina Kosturos contributed to this report.