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Loyola at a Glance

Hurricane season begins, but Loyola preparations already underway

June 5, 2009

June 1 marked the official start to the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, but Loyola University New Orleans was already well underway with its internal preparations for emergency readiness.

Using feedback from last year’s response to Hurricane Gustav, Loyola’s Emergency Management Team met several times over the spring semester to review and revise the university’s emergency plan. The university’s crisis communication plan was also updated and distributed recently to members of the EMT, who are planning a table-top emergency drill later this summer. Additionally, members of the EMT subscribe to TropicsWatch, a daily e-mail forecast, alert, monitoring and notification service, to receive the latest weather information for the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

While National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association forecasters are predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season for 2009, university officials stress the need to prepare for the possibility of a storm.

“It is important to always be ready for a storm to hit this area,” said Cissy Petty, vice president for Student Affairs. “We had a successful evacuation and return to campus during Gustav, but that doesn’t mean we should let our guard down. Loyola has a comprehensive emergency response plan, and by remaining vigilant in our preparation and planning, we will continue to keep our campus community informed and safe.”

The university requires all Loyola students to file a Personal Evacuation Plan, which includes their evacuation destination, transportation arrangements and emergency contact information.

In its initial outlook for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November, NOAA’s National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center calls for a 50 percent probability of a near-normal season, a 25 percent probability of an above-normal season and a 25 percent probability of a below-normal season. Forecasters say there is a 70 percent chance of having nine to 14 named storms, of which four to seven could become hurricanes, including one to three major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5).

For more information on Loyola University’s emergency preparedness, contact Director of Public Affairs Meredith Hartley at mhartley@loyno.edu or 504-722-6078.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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