Five days before the anticipated landfall of Hurricane Frances, a clock started at The Citadel that set actions in motion even though there was considerable uncertainty about where Frances would hit. The only reliable assumption was that the storm would slam some unlucky place on the East Coast with the impact of a sledgehammer.
Preparing for Frances:
Saturday's football game postponed
and Friday's parade canceled
Decisions based on constantly changing information are never simple. The Citadel's administration decided to be cautious given the early projections of the storm that showed Frances could impact the Charleston area.
On Monday, the commandant's office circulated rosters in the barracks for cadets to indicate where they would go and whom they would travel with if an evacuation were necessary. Cadets without cars or from out of state made arrangements to travel away from campus with others in their company.
A decision was made on Tuesday to postpone the September 4th football game with Charleston Southern until later in the season and to cancel Friday's military dress parade. One home soccer game was canceled and a second weekend game was relocated to Winthrop University.
On Wednesday cadets began turning in rifles just in case an evacuation might be forthcoming. "The rifle turn-in is the long pole in the tent," according to Brigadier General Emory Mace, the commandant. He said the job of collecting rifles issued to 2000 cadets and securing them according to Army standards while working around classes usually takes 6-8 hours. Cadets were also told to get gas in their vehicles so that there would be no delay if they needed to leave the area.
While any evacuation depends on the storm's track and directives from state and local officials, the preparations mean that there would be no delays in letting cadets go should an evacuation order be given.
Updated information about plans and schedule changes are available from The Citadel's DAWG line (843.953.3294) or The Citadel's web site (www.citadel.edu.) If the hurricane disrupts power or phones, The Citadel has an alternate website on a server in the Midwest at the URL www.hurricanecitadel.com.
All sources will be updated as often as information changes.
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