December 10, 2018

Hurricane Florence hits Webster campuses

Webster University students and faculty in the Carolina’s are in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.

Hurricane Florence made landfall at 7:15 Friday morning on the east coast. Students and faculty from eight Webster University campuses in North and South Carolina spent last week leaving closed campuses and traveling inland. Now they are wondering when their schedules will get back to normal.

Webster student at Myrtle Beach South Carolina, Elizabeth Tinashe does not know what to expect and said everyone is just praying there is no damage.

“Every day it seems the news is changing,” Tinashe said. “I guess we’ll just wait and see what tomorrow brings.”

Tinashe said not all students planned to evacuate and that wasn’t an option for her.

“People are staying after being told to leave,” Tinashe said. “There are people who have lived through hurricanes here before and are confident they will be fine. For me, this being my first hurricane, I don’t want to risk it, so I evacuated.”

Poweroutage.us reports over 396,000 customers were still without power Monday in North Carolina, and over 6,000 customers in South Carolina were without power.  

There have been over 2,100 flights cancelled because of the tropical storm. Students were advised to follow Webster websites to stay informed of changes to the schools itinerary.

Hurricane Florence came ashore in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., just 66 miles south of Webster’s Camp Lejeune campus and 100 miles north of Webster’s Myrtle Beach campus.

Dr. Beth Vivaldi, Interim Regional Director of South Carolina, said the Webster community has dispersed, and it is unclear when things will get back to normal.

“Faculty and staff are scattered and have relocated,”  Vivaldi said. “The news predicts 26 inches of rain, so we will see what happens. I am at Columbia where we have a campus and then I will make it to Greenville campus on Monday if it’s safe.” 

This could mean Webster students could have trouble returning to class this week. Webster University Myrtle Beach Representative, Hector Diaz, said hurricanes are nothing new to Carolina’s Webster campuses.

“Our Webster Myrtle Beach campuses have been impacted by hurricanes in recent years,” Diaz said. “Last year, we missed two days of classes because of Hurricane Irma.”  

Before both Hurricanes Irma and Florence, Diaz said Hurricane Matthew hit the campuses the year prior.

“In 2016, Hurricane Matthew affected our October graduation. Our graduation attendance went from 260 students down to 64,” Diaz said. “Many people were landlocked due to the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.”

Most of Webster Universities Carolina campuses expect to resume classes and business hours this week.  Myrtle Beach expects classes to resume on Saturday, September 22.

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