As Ida grows stronger in the Gulf of Mexico, the University of Southern Miss’s University Police urges students, faculty and staff to get ready for it to make landfall.
Though Ida is classified as a Category One hurricane as of writing, many meteorologists believe the warmer waters of the Gulf could intensify the storm before reaching Louisiana this Sunday. The most recent projections, including from WLOX’s Eric Jeansonne, believe Ida has the potential to become a Category Four storm, with landfall winds possibly hitting 140 mph.
The National Hurricane Center issued a Hurricane, Storm Surge and Flash Flood Watch for multiple coastal cities within Louisiana and Mississippi this morning.
“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” said NHC forecaster Daniel Brown. “The water could reach the following heights above ground somewhere in the indicated areas if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide.”
The projected intensity of the storm may prove a particular problem further inland, too, as high winds, heavy rains and flash floods are expected to swamp the state. Because of this, Southern Miss’s on-campus police department sent out a school-wide email to encourage everyone to take proper precautions for the weekend ahead.
In addition to staying up to date on evolving weather conditions and emergency communication channels, students, faculty and staff should also consider the following:
- Check to see if their contact information in Eagle Alert (www.usm.edu/police/eagle-alert) is up to date
- Comply with preparedness and emergency safety advisories issued by University officials, as well as other local and state agencies
- Back up electronic files on portable drives or, for University-owned computers, through iTech’s Eagle Backup (www.usm.edu/itech/eagle-backup)
There is also a high risk of flooding in several areas on Hattiesburg’s campus. To avoid flood damage in parked cars, motorists should avoid parking in these areas:
- Pine Haven Drive around Sorority Village,
- Montague Boulevard, between Kay James Drive and Ross Boulevard,
- the Southwest end of Fraternity Drive at Montague Boulevard,
- West 4th Street, between Golden Eagle Avenue and Eagle Walk,
- Southern Miss Drive, specifically between 30th and 31st Avenues,
- Ray Guy Way at Century Park South/Spirit Park,
- Kay James Drive’s south end at Montague Boulevard (next to the DuBard School),
- M.M. Roberts Stadium’s Trent Lott Center’s west lot,
- Ray Guy Way at Eagle Walk,
- and the Southwest corner of McCarty Hall.
Though Southern Miss is not currently planning on closing in response to Ida, students who plan on evacuating/who may end up evacuating are encouraged to take valuable personal property with them in case they cannot get back onto campus.
For more information on how to prepare for this hurricane and for the rest of the season, please check the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency’s 2021 Emergency Guide at https://www.msema.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/FINAL-EMERGENCY-GUIDE-2021.pdf. Students should also review the University’s emergency operations plans at https://www.usm.edu/physical-plant/internalportal/safety/emergency-management-planning-and-response.