As rain and winds reaching speeds of almost 90 miles per hour stormed into New Haven Monday night, downing trees and breaking windows, the University mandated the first curfew for all students living on campus in recent memory.
The Emergency Operations Center, staffed by 26 administrators and staff members in the second floor of 101 Ashmun St., directed the University’s response to Hurricane Sandy, canceling Tuesday classes and ordering all students to stay in their residence halls from 5:30 p.m. onward.
Though the storm managed to topple the bus shelter outside Woolsey Hall, send a 100-pound exhaust fan flying from the roof of the Malone Engineering Center and break several windows across campus, University Vice President Linda Lorimer told the News Monday night that no physical injuries had been reported as students were largely adhering to the curfew.
Lorimer said the Yale Facilities Department staff will inspect the campus this morning prior to allowing students to leave their dorms, adding that class cancellations on Wednesday — the third day since the first cancellations — are highly unlikely.
“We’re hopeful,” Lorimer said. “We’re prepared for the worst, and we’re hoping for the best.”
Director of Facilities Services Roger Goode said it was too early to speculate Monday night about the cost of damages to the University until after the storm passes. Goode, who worked from the EOC Monday, said roughly 30 members of the grounds crew for the Facilities Department were on duty at any given time Monday, with shifts staggered to ensure staffing through the night.
Goode said he was not aware of any flooding on campus Monday night, adding that the grounds crew successfully cleared fallen branches and trees from campus.
“Damage-wise, we’ve weathered the storm pretty well,” Goode said.
Lorimer and others staffing the EOC met with various deans before coming to the consensus that canceling today’s classes is in the best interest of the students and faculty. She said deans will confer with the faculty of their schools after the storm to determine any plans for make-up classes.
Lorimer told students in an email around 6:30 p.m that the University was at risk of losing much of its power last night because the United Illuminating Company, a public electrical company that serves 325,000 customers, had the right to decrease the power it allocated to Yale if enough of the provider’s other customers lost electricity.
Stairwells and entryways have emergency lighting, Lorimer said in her email, adding that students could use their smartphones to provide additional illumination in the case of a power outage.
“And you might want to add a flashlight app if you don’t have one,” she added in the email.
Lorimer said the EOC’s response effort encompassed various aspects of campus life. She said Executive Director of Dining Rafi Taherian coordinated efforts to provide food for undergraduates and graduate students from the EOC, and Deputy Director of Environmental Health and Safety Robert Klein also worked with the EOC to oversee laboratory safety, such as making sure various apparatuses in the science labs were secure.
Students interviewed were pleased with the University’s swift and comprehensive response to the storm and the amount of updates they received by email.
Mark Trapani ’14 said he was happy with the information Lorimer distributed and attributed the effectiveness of the emergency response to her leadership.
“I would vote for Linda for president,” Trapani said, adding that Lorimer deserves a place in the “Yale Pantheon.”
Prior to Monday, the University had not officially canceled classes since a massive blizzard in February 1978.