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Hurricane season begins, but Loyola preparations already underway

Loyola press release - June 1, 2009

June 1 marks the official start to the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, but Loyola University New Orleans is 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.

For the latest updates about Loyola University New Orleans, follow us on Twitter @LoyolaNOLANews or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/loyno.

LoyNews is an e-newswire produced by the Loyola University New Orleans Office of Public Affairs. LoyNews is distributed weekly to local, regional and national news media outlets, communicating the latest news and accomplishments of the university and its community.

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