Hurricane Ian and its remnants impacted the Hampton Roads region with significant flooding and power outages which began on Friday, Sept. 30.
According to the National Weather Service, Virginia Beach had numerous hazardous weather conditions. “For the Coastal Flood Warning, up to two feet of inundation above ground level in low-lying areas near shorelines and tidal waterways. For the High Surf Advisory, large breaking waves of 8 to 12 feet in the surf zone. For the Beach Hazard Statement, a high risk for rip currents,” the NWS report on Oct. 3 said.
This resulted in the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach declaring states of emergencies which closed city facilities. Virginia Beach Emergency Management Coordinator Danielle Progren released a statement that emphasized how forecasters expected this storm to cause some of the worst flooding conditions the area has seen in at least a decade.
“With the ground saturation from Ian’s rainfall, plus high tides, combined with wind-driven high water in the Chesapeake Bay and Lynnhaven River systems, it looks like there won’t be anywhere for the water to drain,” Progren said. “We’re encouraging everyone to stay off the roads as much as possible Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning.”
Virginia Wesleyan University was affected by this storm with a power outage on Friday, Sept. 30, fallen trees, providing a staging area for Dominion Energy and increased standing water on walkways.
During the power outage, students received an email from Residence Life at 4:42 p.m. that declared the campus was in emergency operation status. They noted, “Guests are prohibited, alcohol is prohibited – we are a ‘dry’ campus until the emergency status is lifted and any policy violations that could cause safety hazards (such as candles) are taken very seriously.”
Senior Chase Yew spent his time with a group. “A small group of us stayed together and played some cards and board games. We just kind of chilled for a bit until it came back on. We didn’t have many people but it was better than sitting alone in the dark,” Yew said.
The power was restored hours later for some, but did not fully come back for those in Bray Village until Monday. It was unconfirmed if VWU would operate normally after the weekend.
On Monday, Oct. 3, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Susan Larkin announced that VWU would have a normal schedule and continue to monitor the conditions throughout the day. “The storm can pose travel hazards, so please exercise caution,” Larkin said. “Weather and flooding can vary widely throughout our region, so if you encounter unsafe travel conditions please notify your professor or supervisor and stay home.”
Peer institutions such as Old Dominion University decided to close at noon on Oct. 3 in anticipation for the storm to allow non-residential students and employees time to safely travel home before the 3:52 p.m high tide.
VWU students are encouraged to consult the University website, social media and VWU email for emergency updates.
By Connor Merk