Cabrini withstands Isabel’s fury

By Kelly Finlan
September 25, 2003

Ryan Mulloy

The wind has died down, and the rain has ceased, but the effects of hurricane Isabel are still being felt long after she has gone.

“Three trees in my front yard were uprooted. One of them hit the transformer and it literally exploded,” Ryan Mulloy, a senior English/communications major, said. “If the trees had fallen toward the house, I wouldn’t be telling this story.”

Busy intersections in Wayne and Radnor stood at a standstill Friday, Sept. 19, as apprehensive drivers were on the side of caution, inching down an unlit Lancaster Avenue. Businesses stood dark and empty.

As of Saturday, Sept. 20, more than 80,000 Peco Energy Co. customers were still without power, 18,000 of which were in Delaware County.

“We were driving down the road and there was a tree in the middle of the road. We almost crashed into it,” Jeff Feurhammer, a freshman elementary education major, said.

“We were tracking the hurricane all week long,” Howard Holden, the director of facilities, said. Earlier in the week, Holden and others were afraid Isabel would travel up the Chesapeake and hit Philadelphia head-on.

A meeting of administrative departments, including residence life, public safety, food services and facilities, met Monday, Sept. 15, last week to develop contingency plans to go into effect if and when Isabel posed a threat to campus.

Stephen Lightcap, the vice president of finance and administration, sent out a memo informing faculty and staff, as well as students, of the policies concerning inclement weather. Emergency closure numbers and informational phone numbers were given out in case of a closure.

A variety of items ranging from tarps to water pumps were ordered in preparation for power outages and flooding. The phone systems and the walkie-talkie systems were connected to generators so they would “stay alive” even if the power was lost, Holden said.

Holden said that facilities prepared for the worst. “You usually have your downed trees, lost power and flooding. And how do you get rid of the water when you don’t have power? That’s why we got generators,” he said. “We didn’t get a lot of rain, thank God.”

Sand bags were positioned in front of house seven and Xavier Hall. This is where the water run-off is the worst, according to Holden.

“Last Wednesday we made the call that we were going to have to split shifts,” Holden said. “Many of us worked 36 hours straight through.”

In a memo to the campus, Dr. Catherine O’Connell, the dean of Academic Affairs, warned faculty, staff and students to drive carefully. Thursday night classes and Friday classes were canceled.

Cabrini suffered a few downed tree branches.

“They’re still working on it [the clean up]. We had a crew come in Saturday morning, and [they] took care of the large limbs. They took the largest stuff away. Now it’s just the twigs,” Holden said.

“The whole area really dodged a bullet,” Holden said

Posted to the Web by: Toccara Buckley

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Kelly Finlan

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