Hurricane Irma is expected to hit Tallahassee as a Category 2 or 3 Monday. Tallahassee students and universities are preparing for the potential displacement the hurricane is expected to bring.
Governor Rick Scott released a statement on Sept. 8 stating, “Closing public schools, state colleges, state universities and state offices will provide local and state emergency officials the flexibility necessary to support shelter and emergency response efforts.”
Florida A&M University and Florida State University will now remain closed until Friday, Sept. 15.
Students across Tallahassee have been preparing for the storm in many ways. Filling up on gas, food and all necessary supplies has been a primary goal as students prepare to stay and brace the storm in Tallahassee.
Melanie Raybon, a student at FSU, decided to evacuate in preparation for the storm.
“We planned on staying in town at first and tried getting supplies together, but the stores were constantly bought out of most things like water and canned goods, so we decided to just evacuate. My boyfriend who stayed behind is planning on putting sandbags around our front and back doors to protect from possible flooding.”
Other students like Julian Wilson, who attends Tallahassee Community College (TCC), explained that his best option was to prepare in his current location.
“I’m from West Palm Beach and I heard that everything is calm, but supplies are pretty much depleted. I found it difficult to get gas here in Tallahassee at first, but that was about it. I was able to buy water, batteries and some non-perishables, but I am a bit anxious and nervous,” said Wilson.
FAMU students who live on-campus and did not evacuate are urged to remain in their living facilities. The university will be accommodating registered off-campus students in the Foster-Tanner Rehearsal Hall on campus beginning Sept. 9 at 2 p.m.
Food services will provide boxed meals and water to students living in residential facilities.
Cafeteria dining will be open until Sunday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. In the event that residential facilities are negatively impacted by the inclement weather and evacuation is required, students will be assisted in being transported to an identified Red Cross Shelter.
In an email update about campus closures and emergency plans, Interim President Larry Robinson stated, “To assist the state in emergency response, members of the Army National Guard will be utilizing our campus facilities and dining services over the next several days in order to ensure they are available to assist government officials with their efforts to help residents across the state who may have been impacted by the storm.”
The City of Tallahassee updated citizens via email saying, the “Latest forecast track for Hurricane Irma predicts serious impacts to Tallahassee. Early impacts Sunday evening. Tropical Storm force winds expected just after midnight possibly increasing to Hurricane force winds by Monday afternoon.”
The storm is projected to make a westward curve, putting more pressure on cities like Fort Myers, Tampa and Tallahassee to rapidly prepare for the storm.
For information on the evacuation locations visit FloridaDisaster.org or call 1-800-324-3557.