All University of Southern Mississippi operations in Hattiesburg and on the Gulf Coast will be closed on Monday, August 30, in anticipation of severe weather related to Hurricane Ida. Online courses will also not be delivered on Monday. Emergency personnel required to report to work will be contacted by their supervisor. All other faculty and staff are advised to refrain from traveling to any campus or location until regular operations resume.
Students residing on the Hattiesburg campus will not be required to evacuate residence halls, but students should be advised that many services will not be available during Monday’s closure. At this time, the Fresh Food Company is expected to be open on Monday for on-campus residents from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Seymour’s is expected to be open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., but please monitor communications from residence hall advisors for any additional changes to food services.
Hurricane Ida has entered the Gulf of Mexico and the National Weather Service currently predicts that Ida will make landfall as a major hurricane in Louisiana on Sunday evening. The Mississippi Gulf Coast is currently under a Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning, with up to 12 inches of rain, winds gusting to hurricane force, a storm surge of 8 to 12 feet, and possible tornadoes all predicted. Forrest County, including the Hattiesburg campus, is currently under a Tropical Storm Warning, with impacts that are expected to include strong winds, flooding and possible tornadoes.
Hurricane Preparedness: What You Should Do Now
Students, faculty and staff should immediately take the following actions, if you have not done so already:
1. Check now to make sure your contact information is up-to-date in the University’s Eagle Alert system: https://www.usm.edu/police/eagle-alert.php.
2. Monitor emergency communication channels outlined below.
3. Comply with preparedness and emergency safety advisories issued by University officials or other local or state agencies.
4. Back up electronic files on portable drives or, for University-owned computers, through Eagle Backup.
In addition, if you have not already done so, you can download the 2021 Emergency Guide provided by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) at https://www.msema.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/FINAL-EMERGENCY-GUIDE-2..., as well as review the University’s emergency operations plans.
MEMA recommends four steps to individual hurricane preparedness:
-Know Where to Go
-Put Together a Disaster Supply Kit
-Set Up Emergency Alerts
-Establish a Communication Plan with Family and Friends
Additional details are at http://www.msema.org/be-prepared/hurricanes/.
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.
Emergency Communication Channels
Eagle Alert is the official emergency communication channel for the University. Faculty, staff and students are required to receive alerts via email. You may also receive alerts via phone call and/or text message. Review and update your contact information at https://www.usm.edu/police/eagle-alert.php.
You may add other phone numbers, including parent or family member phone numbers, into the system under your record.
All USM emergency messages are posted at SouthernMiss.info. Related information may also be communicated through University accounts on Facebook and Twitter, media outlets and emergency notifications at usm.edu.