Hurricane Matthew, the largest and most devastating storm of the ongoing hurricane season, threatened South Florida throughout the latter portion of the previous week, causing Lynn to take precautionary measures for residents of the university.
On Tuesday, Oct. 4, the first Lynn alert was sent out alerting students of the National Hurricane Center’s extension of a hurricane watch across the entirety of Florida. The alert announced that classes and activities taking place on Wednesday evening, Thursday and Friday were cancelled.
Following intensification of the storm and further predictions leading to emergency actions taken on local, state and federal levels, the university announced that it would in fact go into a lockdown mode when storm conditions would require it. The Office of Student Affairs became one of many university outlets for communicating vital information to students, including how to properly prepare for the storm and what to expect from the staff who would remain on campus.
Emergency operations as announced by the university were intended to keep residents as safe as possible, so measures such as the delivery of boxed meals in lieu of trips to the dining commons were instituted. First responders for the university, including the vice president of student affairs, Dr. Phil Riordan, stayed on the premises to provide aid and manage the crisis as necessary.
The campus effectively entered lockdown status on Thursday at 2 p.m., and the lockdown was not lifted until 7 a.m. the following morning, following minimal amounts of disruption or damage to Lynn’s campus itself. Though the storm largely spared the university as part of the greater South Florida region, Hurricane Matthew was especially devastating for Caribbean nations including Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas.
In Haiti alone, where the nation was still recovering from the effects of the 2010 earthquake, at least 300 people were initially reported to have lost their lives to the hurricane; some figures report the total number of dead at above 800. Reports from state officials in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina hold that at least 21 United States citizens were killed by the effects of the hurricane over its path of travel.
Aside from the fatalities associated with the storm, millions of people were left without power, including thousands in Palm Beach County alone. Upon making landfall in Georgia and South Carolina, the storm weakened notably, but still brought flooding, intense hurricane-force winds and dangerous storm surges with it. In the aftermath, emergency responders and government officials from all of the affected areas domestically as well as abroad will have to come together in order to remedy the tragedies and new problems dragged in by Hurricane Matthew.
Photo courtesy of Vox.com.