Hurricane Sandy forces campus exodus
Storm makes its way through UNH
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 16:02
It has multiple Twitter handles, has been Instagrammed, talked about, and has cancelled school up and down the Eastern seaboard. Its effects and path of destruction were constantly up in the air until it hit.
Hurricane Sandy has come to UNH and New England from the Caribbean, and the school prepared for the worst. This is going to be “more powerful than Tropical Storm Irene,” according to Senior Corporate News Representative of PSNH Martin Murray.
On Friday, UNH declared curtailed operations for Monday, Oct. 28 and Tuesday, Oct. 29 in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.
In an e-mail sent on Friday, Executive Director of Public Safety Paul Dean explained that the backup generator on campus would be scheduled for maintenance at the same time that the storm was anticipated to hit Durham.
“Another significant consideration in this decision [curtailed operations] was that the university’s co-generation plant is offline for scheduled maintenance.
“Electrical power for the UNH campus comes from two sources: power generated by the co-generation plant and power purchased from PSNH,” he said in the e-mail.
In a press release by Public Services of New Hampshire (PSNH) on Oct. 28, the company stated it has over 400 additional line crews ready. It also has 100 crews set for tree trimmings.
“[PSNH] worked to get extra crews,” Murray said. Some of the crews are from across the mid-west.
PSNH did admit that the amount of additional assistance and speed of power restoration will be difficult while the storm is in progress. “[We are] expecting power outages, perhaps widespread,” Murray said. “[We are] anticipating a lot of damage.”
Customers are advised to stay prepared with storm supplies and to expect power outages. PSNH predicts “very high winds and rain” until Tuesday.
In preparation for the weather Murray advised people to have, “a flashlight, batteries, and library books. … Don’t study by candlelight, but flashlights are acceptable,” he said.
At 9 a.m. on Monday morning, there were 1,456 students left in the residence halls. Normally, there are between 5,000-6,000. Throughout the day, more students left campus to travel to the homes of relatives, friends or their own home.
Cameron Duval, a Gables resident, had packed up his bags and called a cab, ready for departure from campus. Storms scare him, since, “I saw a movie called the ‘Wizard of Oz,’” he said.
Duval later returned to campus. “I have work tomorrow,” he said. He is a supervisor for campus rec, and according to him, “they’ll be open.”
Out-of-stater Elizabeth Strods felt distressed as to the number of students left in her residence hall, Christensen, and her inability to go home.
“I have no way to get there,” she said. She was going to stay with relatives, but her plans were cut short, because “they’re not traveling because of the storm.”
Strods said she is not too concerned. “I don’t think the conditions will be horrible,” she said.
“I’m going home. My basement floods when it rains, so I wanna help my mom,” said Liz Ross, a Gables resident assistant.
Student Daniel DelTufo stayed on campus for the storm. “I don’t think that this storm is going to be as bad as it is portrayed,” he said.
Meanwhile, freshmen Emma Schmitt and Linsdey Adams traveled home on Sunday in preparation for the storm.
“The school seemed to really want everyone off campus, and once the power goes out, I wouldn’t want to be there,” Adams said.
“After hearing about classes being canceled, the dining halls being closed, and talking to my residence hall director, it seemed like going home was a safer way to go,” she said.
Monday morning, in an e-mail to the UNH community, Dean re-addressed the situation. According to the e-mail, the MUB and Hamel Recreation Center would be closing early at 2 p.m. Both Philbrook and Holloway Commons dining hall closed at 1 p.m., as well.
Later, at 3 p.m., Gov. Lynch placed New Hampshire into a state of emergency, which will require motorists and non-essential vehicles to be off the road.