University could close in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew (Updates)

Heavy winds and rain are expected in the area by Wednesday.


Photo Courtesy of National Hurricane Center.

Joe Pye and Ryan Lynch

Update: Oct. 5, 1:19 a.m.

Palm Beach and Broward county changed their statuses from hurricane watches to warnings after 11 p.m. because of a National Weather Service advisory.

With Hurricane Matthew shifting west toward Florida, and Governor Rick Scott announcing a State of Emergency throughout the state, Florida Atlantic University will decide the status of its campuses early tomorrow.

FAU has not yet announced whether it will stay open or close all campus operations because of the Category 4 storm, alerting students and faculty through an email Tuesday afternoon that it would make a final decision by 9 a.m. Wednesday.

As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, Hurricane Matthew had reached Haiti with 140-mph winds, according to The Weather Channel. Storm predictions from the National Hurricane Center have it making landfall in the Bahamas on Wednesday and possibly hitting the Palm Beach/Broward area on Thursday.

According to The Weather Channel, a Category 4 hurricane means that catastrophic damage will occur, including the uprooting of trees, loss of roof and wall structure on some houses and downed power lines.

Both Palm Beach and Broward are currently in a hurricane watch. As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said South Florida had 48 hours to prepare for Matthew’s potential impact.

Those who have made the trip out to fill up on gas have run into long lines and crowds. On top of that, stores like the Walmart Supercenter in Delray Beach are having to close early in order to restock shelves.

If campus was to close down completely, students would be asked to evacuate and only essential personnel including grounds workers and police officers would be allowed to travel freely in the area.

In case of evacuation, the school advises students to stay off campus with a friend or relative. Students who do not have a place to stay will be shuttled to a Red Cross storm shelter in the area, with shuttle schedules being announced through alerts and social media.

All public schools in Palm Beach and Broward County will be closed on Thursday and Friday, according to school district websites.

A majority will be designated as public shelters. Boca Raton High School, which is located at 1501 NW 15 Ct, is a designated shelter for the general public.

Students who are interested in the current status of FAU can call the university’s automated Hurricane Hotline at 888-832-8695 or visit its advisory webpage here.

The university advises student residents to stock up on battery-powered flashlights, batteries, water, food and to have cash available in case the storm makes landfall.

You can read FAU’s 2016-17 hurricane guide here.

Ryan Lynch is the editor in chief of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @RyanLynchwriter.

Joe Pye is the news editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Jpeg3189.