University of Southern Mississippi students, faculty and staff are advised to closely monitor weather reports through the weekend, as a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico, currently known as Tropical Storm Barry, shows strong potential for development into a Category 1 hurricane. While current forecasts predict landfall west of Mississippi early Saturday morning, the system could bring hazardous weather to south Mississippi beginning as early as Friday morning, with the greatest potential impacts currently from heavy rain and flash flooding. The National Weather Service indicates that rainfall totals between 12-18 inches are possible with this system, along with a significant risk of flash flooding, especially along the Gulf Coast. Winds up to 50 mph, storm surge of 4-6 feet along the Gulf Coast, and brief tornadoes cannot be ruled out for south Mississippi.
If necessary, the University's Eagle Alert system will be activated to notify members of the University community of life-threatening weather impacts from this system that could affect them. Please take a moment to check your contact information in the Eagle Alert system at https://www.usm.edu/police/eagle-alert.php. You may also access the 2019 Hurricane Preparedness Guide provided by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) at http://www.msema.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/2019-HurricaneGuide-Webs....
Potential Flood Zones on USM Campuses
Local residents and visitors are asked to remain aware that these weather conditions may make some streets on the Hattiesburg campus and coastal sites impassable or hazardous to navigate.
Motorists on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach should be aware of potential flood damage to parked vehicles at the shared parking lot with St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church on the west side of campus, along Beach Park Place, as well as the four-way stop at Bear Point and Gulf Park drives.
Motorists at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs should be aware of the potential for flooding on Halstead Road near the site’s entrance.
Motorists on the Hattiesburg campus should be aware of potential flood damage to parked vehicles in these areas:
• Pine Haven Drive around Sorority Village
• Montague Boulevard between Kay James Drive and Ross Boulevard
• 10 parking spaces on south end of Fraternity Drive (west side of street) at Montague Boulevard
• West 4th Street between Golden Eagle Avenue and Eagle Walk
• Southern Miss Drive between 30th and 31st Avenues
• Ray Guy Way at Century Park South/Spirit Park
• South end of Kay James Drive at Montague Boulevard (next to the DuBard School)
• Trent Lott Center west lot, next to M.M. Roberts Stadium
• Ray Guy Way at Eagle Walk, by the raised crosswalk
• Parking area at the southwest corner of McCarty Hall
Motorists should use caution in these areas during times of heavy rain and should not enter flooded areas.
MEMA: What to do in case of a Tornado Warning
In case of a tornado warning, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) recommends the following actions.
If you are at work or school:
• Go to the basement or to an inside hallway at the lowest level of the building.
• Avoid places with wide-span roofs, such as auditoriums, cafeterias, large hallways or shopping malls.
• Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
If you are outdoors:
• If possible, get inside a sturdy building with a concrete foundation.
• If shelter is not available, or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building.
• Be aware of the potential for flooding.
If you are in a vehicle:
• Never try to out drive a tornado in your vehicle. Tornadoes can change direction very quickly and can lift a vehicle and toss it in the air.
• Get out of the vehicle and take shelter in a nearby building.
• If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the vehicle and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle.
If you are in your home:
• Go to the lowest level of the home, an inner hallway, or smaller inner room without windows, such as a closet or bathroom.
• Get away from windows and go to the center of the room. Avoid corners, because they tend to attract debris.
• Get under a sturdy piece of furniture, such as a workbench or heavy table.
For more information, contact the University Police Department at 601.266.4986.