The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) operations on the Gulf Coast, including the Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, the Marine Research Center in Gulfport, and at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, will be closed on Tuesday, Sept. 15, in anticipation of potential severe weather related to Hurricane Sally. Classes scheduled at Gulf Coast locations will not meet.
All students, faculty and staff are advised to closely monitor weather reports as the hurricane is predicted to make landfall in southeast Mississippi late Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning. Currently, a Storm Surge Warning, Hurricane Warning, and Flash Flood Warning are all in effect along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Threats to the Hattiesburg area include heavy rainfall, high winds and flash flooding. Tornadoes cannot be ruled out.
University officials are in contact with emergency management officials and should the weather system affect additional USM on-campus operations, the Eagle Alert emergency communications system will again be activated.
Local residents and visitors are asked to remain aware that these weather conditions may make some streets 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.
In case of a tornado warning, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) recommends the following actions.
If you are at work or school:
•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 out drive 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.