1:14 P.M. AUG. 28 UPDATE - University closed for non-essential staff following Hurricane Irene

Continued updates for campus hurricane-safety response to be posted on home page. The next update will be posted around 7 p.m.

This update to previous announcements about Princeton's campus safety during Hurricane Irene contains new information related to delayed arrival for students on campus and road closures.

Because of severe weather from Hurricane Irene, Princeton University is closed except for critical and essential staff through Sunday evening. Further updates will be provided after campus conditions are assessed in the wake of the storm. Many campus facilities have been closed to ensure the safety and security of individuals on campus, and faculty, staff and students who do not have critical functions on campus have been strongly encouraged to delay their travel.

Students who were scheduled to arrive on campus by Monday, Aug. 29, including International Pre-Orientation Volunteers, should now delay their arrival until Tuesday, Aug. 30.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Princeton remains under a tropical storm warning. Rain and occasional wind gusts of up to 50 mph are possible. Significant flooding from heavy rainfall in the area has made many roads impassable.

On the south end of campus, Washington Road, which had been closed by a fallen tree between Faculty Road and Ivy Lane, has re-opened. Faculty Road remains closed between Washington Road and Elm Drive because of a fallen utility pole. Utility technicians may shut off power in the area to make line repairs.

These key roads that lead to the campus are closed: Route 206 north and south of Princeton; Alexander Road and Harrison Street, both at the D&R Canal; Route 27 north of Princeton;  Mercer Street/Princeton Pike south of Princeton; and portions of Route 1 east of Princeton.

The home page, www.princeton.edu, will continue to be the primary source for general information following the storm, and campus opening and closing information also is available on the University's weather emergency hotline, (609) 258-SNOW. The University also is providing information via Princeton's Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Closures and cancellations

Members of campus should be advised of the following campus closures and rescheduling:

  • All special events scheduled through Sunday, Aug. 28, are canceled, including exhibitions, concerts, lectures, seminars, pre-orientation events, athletic events and all other activities. Members of the campus community and patrons should check the University home page for updates.
  • Early arrival for leaders for the Outdoor Action and Community Action pre-orientation programs who were originally scheduled to arrive on campus on Aug. 27-29 has been canceled, and these students should plan to arrive on Tuesday, Aug. 30.
  • Early arrival for International Pre-Orientation Volunteers who were originally scheduled to arrive on campus on Aug. 27-28 has been canceled, and these students should plan to arrive on Tuesday, Aug. 30.
  • Coaches of Princeton's sports teams have canceled all practices scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 28.
  • All chapel and other religious services for Sunday, Aug. 28, have been canceled by the Office of Religious Life.
  • All campus libraries are closed on Sunday, Aug. 28.

Critical and essential employees will continue to receive guidance from their supervisors about reporting to work. The Office of Human Resources defines critical and essential staff as "Critical/essential services employees (who) hold positions that are necessary to keeping the basic services of the University operating and support the safety, health and welfare of the University community. Examples include snow removal, dining services, security and power plant, or the academic mission of the University, such as library, research laboratories and computer services."

While move-in for most undergraduates does not take place until September -- on Sept. 3 for incoming freshmen participating in the Outdoor Action and Community Action pre-orientation programs, and Sept. 10 for other students -- arrangements for continued meal and other limited services are being made for the estimated 500 undergraduate students on campus for sports teams, campus research, and other functions. Most of the University's estimated 2,500 graduate students also are on campus, and these students should note that available non-emergency services are extremely limited during the storm.

Because of adverse weather conditions expected from Hurricane Irene, students having meals in Whitman College are advised to use caution while walking around campus. The dining hall is operating on a extended schedule for students and University emergency personnel from 7 a.m. through 2 p.m. Sunday. The normal dining hours for Whitman College this weekend and next week are: 7 to 10 a.m. for breakfast, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for dinner. Students may dine using Paw Points or Student Charge.

Students are advised to exercise good judgment, be responsible for their behavior, and, to the extent possible, remain inside during the worst parts of the storm and keep windows closed at all times. There are extremely limited resources on campus and in the community to respond to emergencies.

Emergency, critical and essential staff working on campus following the storm are being housed in Spelman Hall Buildings 7 and 8 through noon Monday.

In preparation for the storm, all departments were asked to park all University vehicles/carts in the West and/or North Garage. Vehicles should be returned to their normal parking locations as soon as possible Monday morning, Aug. 29.

The University has restored power to all elevators except those in New South, Hibben-Magie and 1981 Hall in Whitman College. The elevators had been stopped at 9 p.m. Saturday because of concerns over loss of power.

To preserve power for critical systems, many technology services may not be available, including research computing. In addition, campus community members are asked to reduce electrical demand to a minimum to reduce load on the University's cogeneration plant; avoid wooded areas; and avoid construction sites, detention basins or other flooded areas. 

Faculty, students and staff who have unsecured bikes on campus also should make efforts to lock their bikes in a bike rack, and if possible in an area with a shelter or overhang.

Guidance for residents of University housing and rental housing

In the event of a loss of power, residents of apartment-style housing should follow this guidance:

  • Use caution within your residence and on the stairs, as lighting is minimal.
  • Do not open your refrigerator or freezer; this will keep items cold and frozen.
  • Do not use candles or any other open flame as a light or heat source.
  • Carefully unplug carbon monoxide detectors in your residence and remove the battery if they start beeping (remove the panel located on the back of the unit to access the battery).
  • For residents of Butler Tract, Hibben-Magie, Lawrence, Stanworth and other off-campus University housing, if power fails and then is restored, please allow about two hours for the hot water, cooling and any elevators to be operational. These systems take some time to restart.
  • PROX cards needed for entry do not always work during power failures. In the event this occurs, members of the campus community should call Public Safety.

All residents of University rental housing should check to ensure that their personal property insurance coverage is up to date. Because August has been a wet month, ground saturation suggests that people with basements may experience an ingress of water or flooding. It is advisable that items not be stored in basement areas, and that residents remove and store or secure all portable equipment, lawn furniture and other items that could be damaged in severe weather. Residents are responsible for personal property.

Members of the community may report any flooding, clogged exterior drains or other hazardous conditions to the Facilities Customer Service Center at (609) 258-8000.

The University maintains an Emergency Preparedness website, which can be accessed through the "Emergency Info" link on the home page. In addition to the latest updates, this site includes emergency guidelines for the campus community and various campus emergency quick links.

The University's Office of Human Resources also maintains a weather emergency reference page for employees.

For more information about Hurricane Irene, the National Weather Service provides weather updates for the central New Jersey region on its website, as well as a link to the National Hurricane Center website.