Hurricane Zeta’s winds and rains hit Georgia Wednesday night, after making landfall in Louisiana in the afternoon. The Category 2 hurricane continued at a rapid pace northeast near 39 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The Emory community experienced power outages, downed trees and canceled classes.
The University notified all students on Wednesday night that campus opening would be delayed until 9:30 a.m. on Thursday due to the anticipated severe weather conditions. Online classes remained as scheduled unless professors took different actions. Emory Healthcare hours were not affected.
Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Joanne Brzinski emailed all undergraduate students Thursday night informing them that College faculty were instructed to be lenient and give extensions for students affected by the storm. She encouraged students to reach out to professors for accommodations.
Many students in the Atlanta area woke up without power, impeding their ability to go to class. According to Georgia Power, the northern Atlanta area experienced 209 outages with over 25,000 customers affected. Over 600,000 Georgians were without power on Thursday morning, according to a tweet from the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.
Main campus never lost power, Emory’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) stated. Students flocked to campus to charge their phones and laptops to attend class.
Nearly 24 Emory buildings lost power on Thursday. Among these buildings were Emory’s residential Clairmont Campus and the Emory Conference Center, which conducts COVID-19 tests and houses on-campus quarantined students. All COVID-19 tests on Thursday were moved to the Woodruff Physical Education Center.
Other popular places for Emory students to live such as Emory Point, Gables Montclair, Clairmont Reserve, Highland Square and the Courtyard Condos of Decatur also lost power at various points during the day. Clairmont Campus, Gables Montclair and Clairmont Reserve all had power restored by early afternoon.
Sachi Madan (23C), a student living at Clairmont Campus, missed two classes because of the outages and stressed the need for professors to be flexible.
“We have an electric stove so I couldn’t make food,” Madan said. “I couldn’t go to class because my laptop was out of charge, and we obviously didn’t have Wi-Fi. I have French at 9:40, and I got marked absent. I tried to email my professor but did not have Wi-Fi, and my signal is really bad at Clairmont.”
While the worst of hurricane Zeta in Atlanta may be over, Madan asked professors to ensure they record lectures and take appropriate steps when students have power outages in the future.
Strong winds caused several trees on campus to fall over. A large tree fell in the central wooded area by Cox Bridge and took others down with it. CEPAR reported that there were trees down at “Wesley Woods, Lullwater, Emory Point, Peavine, 1762 [Clifton Road], Gatewood [Road] and [South] Kilgo Circle.” A tree also fell on a home on Ridgewood Drive.
In response to students losing power, some professors canceled classes. Department of German Studies Associate Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture Miriam Udel notified students on Thursday morning she would be canceling her afternoon class.
The National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center predict the hurricane will continue northeast in the next few days.
“An even faster northeastward motion is expected later today, followed by a rapid east-northeastward motion tonight and Friday,” the National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center reported Thursday morning.
Zeta has affected many activities across the American South and in Georgia. According to The New York Times, many faced delays in early voting this morning. The University of Georgia in Athens also experienced outages.
The Weather Channel predicts little to no rain over the next couple of days in Atlanta and winds ranging from 12 to 17 mph.