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Hurricane Preparedness

The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1st and continues to November 30th. The season sharply peaks from mid-August through mid-October.

  • Tropical Storm Watch: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified area within 48 hours.
  • Hurricane Watch: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are possible within your area. Because it may not be safe to prepare for a hurricane once winds reach tropical storm force, The National Hurricane Center issues hurricane watches 48 hours before it anticipates tropical storm-force winds.
  • Tropical Storm Warning: Tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within your area within 36 hours.
  • Hurricane Warning: Hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or greater) are expected somewhere within the specified area. National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning 36 hours in advance of tropical storm-force winds to give you time to complete your preparations.
  • Do not wait until the last minute to make plans. Know where you will go should the University close in preparation for severe weather.
  • Make a personal plan and a family plan.
  • Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to review the hurricane preparedness tips on this page and other helpful websites posted on this site.
  • University departments and units are reminded to review departmental emergency plans to ensure employees are familiar with departmental procedures, and that phone trees are up to date.

  • Past experience shows that days before the onset of a Hurricane many supplies such as gasoline, food, and water are depleted. Store checkout lines become long and frustrating. Should you need to purchase supplies it is best to plan days ahead.
  • Gas up vehicles to avoid long last-minute gas lines at the station.
  • Power up cell phone batteries, check flashlight batteries and smoke/carbon monoxide detector batteries.
  • Add important contacts to your phone and write them on a card to go in your wallet.
  • Review your evacuation plan with your family ahead of an evacuation order.
  • Take cash out of the bank. ATMs can run out of money quickly, and when the power is out you won’t be able to use a credit card.
  • Pack medications, important documents, insurance information, clothing, toiletries and other essential items in case you have to evacuate for several days or weeks.
  • Turn on your TV or radio to a local channel in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions from local officials.
  • Before, during, and after a storm, you are encouraged to check the University Alert webpage for cancellations, campus closings, and announcements for when classes will resume.
  • Add the Ready GA app to your phone.
  • If the University and local officials announce evacuation orders, follow those orders.
  • Never leave your pets behind! You may not be able to return in time to feed, water, and protect them.
  • Check-in with family and friends by calling, texting, or using social media so they know where you are and that you are ok.
  • Remember that during disasters, when cellular lines are overloaded, sending a text message is usually more reliable than making a phone call.
  • See NOAA Prepare for a Hurricane
  • Prescription medication and any over-the-counter medications that you take regularly.
  • Driver’s license, Passport, or Visa.
  • Important papers (e.g., apartment lease, renter’s insurance, etc.).
  • Important telephone numbers.
  • Textbooks, directions, and passwords for online classes.
  • Cash. When power is out cards don’t work.
  • Laptop/tablet, cell phone, charging cords, and other expensive electronic devices and items.
  • Three days of clothing and shoes.
  • Toiletries-deodorant, soap, toothbrush and paste, towel, shampoo, toilet paper.
  • Hand wipes and disinfectant.
  • First aid supplies and mosquito repellent.
  • Blanket and pillow.
  • Battery-operated radio and flashlight.
  • Bottled water and non-perishable foods such as crackers, cereals, snacks, canned meats, peanut butter & jelly, and pet food if you have pets. Have enough to last three days.
  • Be prepared for grid-lock traffic, make sure you have a full tank of gas before you get on the road.
  • Plan your route ahead of time and have maps in case you have to take a different route.
  • Be sure you have enough cash in case you need to stop and refuel.
  • Be informed about Contra-flow and how it changes normal traffic patterns on major highways to speed up evacuation. I-16 contra-flow will turn all four lanes into westbound-only lanes, all the way to Dublin. Also, several Savannah eastbound exit ramps are converted into westbound entrance ramps, such as Chatham Parkway, and SR 307 (Dean Forest Road) between Savannah and I-95
  • Students will receive information pertaining to the University’s storm preparations through the University’s website, email, and social media. Resident students will also receive information through their Resident Advisors (RA).
  • When a campus closure and/or evacuation has been ordered students will receive an Eagle Alert.
  • When the University is closed, only essential personnel will be allowed to remain on campus. All faculty, staff, and students must leave campus.
  • When an evacuation order for Chatham County Zones A and B have been issued, all resident students at the Armstrong campus must leave the residence halls and evacuate.
  • If resident students or camp/conference attendees can leave the campus for home (or a friend or relative’s home), they are strongly encouraged to do so. Make arrangements in advance to stay at another location and plan to be there for an extended stay in case it is necessary. Plan to take supplies and belongings you will need for an extended stay.
  • Students should find transportation with a friend, family member, or use your personal vehicle to evacuate the campus.
  • The University will NOT provide an emergency hurricane shelter on campus.
  • For students that do not plan to go home or evacuate with family, it is recommended that you contact your parents/guardians and let them know your plans in advance. Contact parents/guardians before leaving campus and upon arrival at your destination. Also, contact parents/guardians when you return to campus.
  • If a resident student has a need for transportation due to a physical disability please notify a Residence Life staff member as soon as a Hurricane Watch is announced so the staff may be of best assistance.
  • Before, during, and after storm students are encouraged to check the University Alert webpage for updates on when classes will resume and residence halls will reopen.
  • Students must also keep their Housing Evacuation Plan information and address update-to-date on the Housing Application Portal. This is the address where you will go in case of a campus evacuation. We encourage students who may not have somewhere to go to find a friend or another student that they can stay with during the evacuation period.
  • Completely empty your refrigerator, unplug and discard all perishable food items. Place a towel around the bottom of your refrigerator. Place all non-perishable food items in cupboards. 
  • Place all valuables you choose to leave behind in a room that you can lock. 
  • Move furniture away from windows in case of flooding. 
  • Place all loose objects in drawers or closets. Move all items (e.g., shoes, papers, books, etc.) off the floor and away from the windows in case of flooding. 
  • Unplug all electronic equipment – TV, radio, toaster, etc. 
  • Make sure ALL windows are closed and locked and close the window blinds. Do NOT put tape on the windows. 
  • Leave air conditioning units on low.
  • Do NOT store motorcycles, mopeds, barbeque grills, or any other equipment containing combustible fuel in or near University Housing facilities. These must be stored at an alternate location for safety purposes.
  • If not using a vehicle to evacuate, park your vehicle in an approved parking area.
  • Bring bicycles in from the outside and store in a bedroom.
  • Lock your door and take your key with you. 
  • Prior to leaving campus, please inform your Resident Advisor (RA) where you are going and provide a contact number. 
  • Housing and Residence Life staff will check every resident room to make sure students have evacuated.
  • Once the emergency tape is placed on your front door, you cannot re-enter the room without the Director of Housing and Residence Life’s permission.
  • Refusal to leave your residence hall room once an evacuation has been mandated will result in your arrest and transportation to jail. You will also face university disciplinary action once the Armstrong campus has reopened. 
  • The University is not responsible for damages to, or for loss of, personal property as a result of a hurricane. Be sure you have renters’ insurance prior to hurricane season.

Beginning of Season

On or around June 1st, University employees will receive a Hurricane Season reminder. Faculty and staff are encouraged to review family and individual preparedness plans.

Departments and units will be reminded to review department-specific emergency plans to ensure that phone trees and preparedness procedures are up-to-date, and essential supplies are readily available.

96 Hours – Before the onset of tropical storm force winds

  • Departments will be reminded to review department-specific emergency plans, and to ensure that phone trees and other contact lists are up-to-date.
  • Chatham County Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) information will be monitored.
  • Armstrong and Liberty departments and units may begin their pre-impact preparations.

72 Hours – Before onset of tropical storm force winds

  • An email will be sent to all employees when the University falls within the forecast cone.
  • Departments and units on all campuses will conduct final campus preparations.
  • The University’s Emergency Management Team and specific essential personnel will be activated and scheduled.
  • Armstrong and Liberty departments and units may complete and report their preparations to department heads before leaving campus, in compliance with designated campus closure timeline and county evacuation orders.

48 Hours – Tropical Storm and/or Hurricane Watch will be issued by the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service

  • The University will send an announcement and link to the Alert page regarding cancellations, closures, and/or business schedule alterations.

Campus Closure Information

  • NO University building is designated as an evacuation shelter or shelter of last resort.
  • Employees that are not assigned to an emergency support function are not permitted to seek shelter in University facilities. Follow local evacuation orders and the recommendations given by local officials. Employees found on campus will be asked to leave by Public Safety.
  • Employees should stay informed by monitoring local radio and television stations.
  • NO attempt to come back to the campus should be made until you are notified by your supervisor and/or an announcement is made by the University.
  • After the storm, check the University’s website or call your supervisor for information regarding the timeline for returning to campus.
  • Reopening of campuses will be announced via Eagle Alert, and posted on the University website.

Re-Entry and Campus Recovery

Armstrong campus employees will follow Chatham County Re-Entry guidelines. These guidelines and Re-Entry announcements will be posted on the University website.

Helpful Links

Chatham County Emergency Management Agency

Ready.Gov

Ready GA

National Hurricane Center

Last updated: 11/27/2019