Message from University Police: Severe Weather to Threaten USM Locations Through Thursday

The National Weather Service has issued severe weather alerts for all portions of South Mississippi, including all University of Southern Mississippi campuses and locations in Hattiesburg and on the Gulf Coast, through Thursday. A Flash Flood Watch is also in effect for all campuses through Thursday evening, with multiple rounds of storms expected.

The Hattiesburg Campus will be under a Marginal Threat (1 out of 5) for severe weather for Tuesday and Wednesday, with damaging wind gusts and heavy rainfall potentially leading to flash flooding. The area could receive between 3 to 6 inches of rainfall with local higher amounts during the next three days.

The greatest threat for severe weather will be on Thursday with the Hattiesburg Campus under an Enhanced Risk (3 out of 5) for Severe Weather. These storms on Thursday may produce tornadoes, some of which could be strong, as well as damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph. Golf-ball size hail will also be possible.

The Coastal Campuses and Locations have the potential for flooding and strong-to-severe thunderstorms through Thursday. The National Weather Service (NWS) has placed the Coastal Campuses under a Slight to Enhanced Risk (1 to 2 out of 5) through Thursday. The NWS is confident that there will be thunderstorms across the area with a few producing heavy rainfall. Rainfall of 4 to 8 inches is currently forecast, while locally higher amounts will be possible. Damaging winds in excess of 60 mph, hail, and a few tornadoes will be possible.

Should flooding or a tornado warning impact USM locations, the Eagle Alert emergency communication system will be activated. Please take a moment to check your contact information in the Eagle Alert system at https://www.usm.edu/safety/eagle-alert.

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 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:
• 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 outdrive 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 USM University Police Department at 601.266.4986.

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