Though USF and most of the United States were spared from significant hurricane activity, the 2010 storm season produced 19 named storms and 5 major hurricanes, totaling in excess of $11 billion in damages and resulting in 282 deaths.
Early uncharacteristic weather conditions have led many hurricane forecasters to predict that the 2011 hurricane season (June 1 - November 30) may be even more active than 2010. Hurricane experts suggest that there may be as many as 16-18 named storms in the Atlantic hurricane basin. Nine of these storms will strengthen into hurricanes; five attaining major hurricane strength (Category 3, 4 or 5). In the short period of Jan. - May 2011, much of the world witnessed disastrous conditions inflicted by other natural hazards such as flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes and tsunamis.
Your individual preparedness actions greatly contribute to USF's ability to prepare, respond to and recover from any storm, minor or major.
To assist you in preparing for this year's hurricane season, USF Emergency Management has produced the 2011 USF Hurricane Planning Guide. This guide also serves as your "ready reference" of the specific campus-wide activities that are likely to occur, should a tropical storm or hurricane threaten the University of South Florida. The guide along with other valuable preparedness information, can be obtained from the USF Public Safety website.
How can you help?
Monitor the weather very closely during this season, particularly during the months of Aug. - Oct. when hurricane conditions and storm development is most favorable.
Be prepared. Have your basic emergency supply kits ready, know your evacuation route, and communicate your plan to family, friends, and co-workers. A basic emergency supply kit checklist is contained in the 2011 USF Hurricane Planning Guide.
Follow directions and guidance administered by USF Administration, Public Safety Officials and Emergency Management partners. All official information regarding campus closings, class cancellation, evacuation, and repopulation of the campus will be communicated through the main USF website, the emergency USF website, the USF Emergency Information Line 1-800-992-4231, WUSF, and other local media outlets.
If the campus is evacuated, do not return until directed to do so. Hurricanes can inflict severe damage to infrastructure, roadways, and buildings. Post-hurricane environmental conditions are likely to be unsafe. Please afford USF disaster management teams the opportunity to recover the campus and provide a safe environment.
Remember, hurricanes can intensify and change direction within hours, so stay observant of changing weather conditions during this hazardous season.
You must be prepared! You must have a plan!
For more information, visit the USF Public Safety website, or contact Paul Latham, emergency manager, at 813-974-1310.