We receive detailed meteorological information specific to our campus, which gives us comfort about this week. Marco is expected to make landfall south of New Orleans tomorrow afternoon, as a Category 1 hurricane that will quickly deteriorate to a tropical storm. We expect to see occasional gusts of strong wind and some rain starting tonight through Monday.
Accordingly, unless we have power outages that get in the way, we will teach courses virtually on Monday and stay inside. On Tuesday, we will reopen campus, including the library, dining services and Rec Plex, but we’ll continue to teach virtually to allow flexibility as people return.
Forecasters will know more about Laura in the next 24 hours or so, but at this point the storm is predicted to make landfall somewhere around the Texas/Louisiana border. If that track holds, we will be on the east, or “wet” side of the storm, which means we may see significant rainfall starting late Wednesday into Thursday. If the storm does turn towards us, moreover, it will have less time to develop beyond a Category 1. Either way, we should see similar weather effects as Marco and we will let you know what impact that has on campus operations.
According to local authorities and our forecasters, neither of these storms pose a significant enough threat to require evacuation. Right now, the forecast for the impact on our campus of each storm is approximately 30 mph winds and 2-4” of rain, but we will obviously keep a very close eye on the forecasts.
I don’t know if this brings comfort or not, but it is extremely rare to have two tropical systems in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time -- just another gift from the year 2020. If nothing else, we’ve all learned to take what fate throws at us in unflappable ways. And we’ve all gained the flexibility to teach remotely rather than disrupt the beginning of our academic year.
Keep a close eye on the weather and stay safe. If anyone wants me to join their virtual class tomorrow, I’d love to see you.