The University of Southern Mississippi’s in-person operations on the Gulf Coast, including the Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, the Marine Research Center in Gulfport, and at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, will close at noon on Monday, Sept. 14, in anticipation of potential severe weather related to Tropical Storm Sally. All online course delivery and remote work will continue as scheduled; all in-person afternoon and evening classes will be held virtually. Hattiesburg campus in-person operations are expected to proceed as scheduled on Monday.
All students, faculty and staff are advised to closely monitor weather reports as the system is expected to become a hurricane on Monday. While current forecasts predict landfall in southeast Louisiana late Monday evening or Tuesday morning, the system could bring hazardous weather to south Mississippi beginning earlier on Monday, with the greatest potential impacts coming from hurricane force winds, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, and storm surge values of 7 to 11 feet in coastal areas. Currently, a Storm Surge Warning, Hurricane Warning, and Flash Flood Watch are all in effect along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Threats to the Hattiesburg area include heavy rainfall, high winds and flash flooding. Tornadoes cannot be ruled out.
University of Southern Mississippi students, faculty, and staff are advised to follow official sources of weather information, including the National Weather Service, for ongoing updates on Tropical Storm Sally.
Should the weather system affect USM’s on-campus operations on Tuesday, the Eagle Alert emergency communications system will again be activated.
If you have not already done so, students, faculty and staff should take the following actions now:
•Check now to make sure your contact information is up-to-date in the University’s Eagle Alert system. You may add other phone numbers, including family member phone numbers, into the system under your record.
•View hurricane preparedness information provided by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
•Comply with preparedness and emergency safety advisories issued by University officials or local or state agencies.
•Back up electronic files on portable drives or, for University-owned computers, through Eagle Backup.
Potential Flood Zones on USM Campuses
Local residents and visitors are asked to remain aware that these weather conditions may make some streets 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 the south end of Fraternity Drive (west side of the 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.