The University of Maryland is stockpiling water bottles and increasing food orders, collecting sandbags and encouraging student residents to create emergency preparedness kits in advance of Hurricane Florence’s arrival.

The National Weather Service anticipates the storm will make landfall early Friday as a Category 3 or 4 storm in the Carolinas, linger several days there with torrential rain and high winds, then turn north and dump several inches of rain in Maryland. The NWS anticipates sustained wind speeds will likely not reach tropical-storm force (39 mph) in Maryland.

States of emergency have been declared in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia in preparation, and the university is taking a broad range of steps to ensure the campus community’s safety.

As of last night, officials recommended students shelter in place, and do not expect to order any evacuations, but will continue to monitor the storm’s path.

“The campus is probably a good place to be in this situation, especially if you live here,” said UMD Fire Marshal Alan Sactor. “People are making sure that residents have services here, that the buildings are as safe as possible.”

The university is bulking up staffing in the Division of Information Technology, Facilities Management and Residential Facilities and deliberating whether any changes will be necessary for athletics events, including Saturday’s football home opener.

Should adverse weather conditions require the university to close, the Health Center and certain dining halls remain open during limited hours.

Other precautions include:

  • The university is preparing to sandbag any buildings or areas at risk of flooding. Barriers are also available, if needed.
  • Dining Services has ordered 5,000 extra water bottles and a four-day supply of compostable products in case a power outage makes dishwashers unavailable. Starting today, extra food will be delivered to dining facilities.
  • DIT is identifying any preemptive action for possible flooding.
  • The Department of Transportation Services has diesel fuel and generators on standby.
  • University Recreation and Wellness is preparing locations on campus to be used as shelters, if needed.
  • The Department of Resident Life has emailed student residents reminding them to prepare for the storm as well as providing a resource checklist.

The university reminds students and the community of the following safety tips:

  • Stay indoors during a hurricane or other severe weather. Move to a building’s lower levels and avoid windows during severe wind.
  • Do not drive vehicles through standing water.
  • Do not use candles for light in the event of a power outage.
  • Use your cell phone only for emergencies to conserve power.
  • Build an emergency kit ahead of time. A list of resources is available here.
  • Stock up on enough food and bottled water to last three days.
  • Write down or print out a hard copy of emergency numbers.
    • UMPD: 301-405-3333
    • Health Center: 301-314-8180
    • Work Control: 301-405-2222
    • Residential Facilities: 301-314-9675
  • Sign up for campus emergency alerts: https://alert.umd.edu/
  • Follow official Twitter accounts for reliable updates.
    • @NWS
    • @UMDRightNow
    • @UofMaryland
    • @UMPD
  • Learn more about how to be prepared for severe weather.