By Molly Igoe
The much-anticipated Hurricane Joaquin disappointed many Washington College students who expected a true hurricane experience. Unfortunately for those looking to have off Monday, the hurricane bypassed the College and Chestertown, leaving only faint traces of rain and wind, most notably on Thursday, Oct. 2 and Friday, Oct. 3.
The WC website released this statement on Friday: “As Hurricane Joaquin moves out to sea, the weather outlook for our region has been changed to much lower amounts of rainfall and far milder winds. While it is impossible to fully predict the path of the storm at this time, we do not currently expect the situation to change.
In the event of power loss, please shelter in place. If a resident has concerns, they should first contact their Resident Advisor. If you have a personal vehicle on campus, please make sure you fill it up with gas before the weekend.”
Jerry Roderick, director of Public Safety, said, “We had a briefing on Thursday with the Emergency Operations Group about plans and supplies if we had an emergency situation like losing power in the dining hall. We needed to make sure that the proper resources were available if a case like that were to happen.”
He said that on Saturday it was clear that WC and the surrounding area were safe from Hurricane Joaquin, so the emergency plans that were in place would not be necessary to implement.
The only nearby areas affected were Ocean City and Rehoboth Beach, Del., which were both hit hard by the Nor’Easter that preceded Hurricane Joaquin.
The Emergency Operation Group’s emergency response plan after a hurricane warning states the following: “A hurricane warning has been issued for the Chestertown area, meaning a violent storm may be imminent. A hurricane is a tropical storm with winds that can reach a constant speed of 75 miles per hour or more. Torrential rains, high winds and storm surges are possible. Stay indoors, away from windows and glass doors. If possible, find a central room without any windows. Be aware that the calm ‘eye’ is deceptive; the storm is not over. The worst part of the storm will happen once the eye passes over and the winds blow from the opposite direction. Trees, shrubs, buildings, and other objects damaged by the first winds can be broken or destroyed by the second winds. Remain indoors until you are certain the storm has passed. Public Safety will issue an all clear message when it is safe to venture out.”
On the WC website under the EOG, there is information regarding what to buy and prepare in the prospect of a hurricane. The list includes a first aid kit, a flashlight with extra batteries, clothing and bedding like sleeping bags and blankets, and emergency money.
Fortunately, town residents and students at the College did not have to make any emergency preparations.
Roderick said, “Although we were not greatly affected, the important thing to remember is that we were preparing and taking in information as we received it. We will be prepared for future weather related events because of this planning.”