Hurricane Irene is officially on everyone’s mind here on the East Coast. As of early afternoon Friday, Aug. 26, Irene’s outer bands of rain have hit Carolina shores. The hurricane is projected to hit a lot of densely populated areas, including Washington, DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and others.
Six to 9-foot waves were reported on the Outer Banks of North and South Carolina, but the actual hurricane has not hit the states yet. Irene is currently a Category 2 storm with maximum winds of 105 miles per hour and the actual hurricane, not just the outer bands of rain, is due to hit the Carolina coast sometime on Saturday.
Various cities have issued evacuation warnings, especially those near bodies of water in danger of flooding. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York City has emergency contingencies in place, but did say that the hurricane, although strong where it is now, could become weaker as it moves up the coast. History shows that hurricanes often lose strength after they reach land.
New York University and Fordham University postponed the undergraduate move-in dates, originally scheduled for Sunday; students will not be able to move in until Monday. Some schools like Rhode Island College have postponed the first day of classes, while Harvard College has opened its residence halls two days early for students to move in before the storm hits.
My advice? Just be smart. If you haven’t moved in yet, work around the storm. If you have, make sure you’re prepared with essential items. Get updates from local weather stations and storm watches.
And most importantly, don’t panic. In times of imminent storms, extreme or not so extreme, the constant media attention can often cause some people stress. Just prepare yourself, listen to officials and wait it out—it’s all we can do.
What’s your school doing in preparation for Irene?