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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA avoids full campus closure

%09Students+prepare+for+severe+weather+warning+outside+of+the+Center+of+Creative+Photography+on+Wednesday.+The+campus+was+not+closed+because+the+storm+is+no+longer+expected+to+hit+Tucson.+

Students prepare for severe weather warning outside of the Center of Creative Photography on Wednesday. The campus was not closed because the storm is no longer expected to hit Tucson.

The UA campus will remain open today after administration officials determined that the weather conditions did not warrant a campus closure.

Severe weather had been forecasted to bring heavy rains and flooding to the Tucson area, which led UA officials to consider canceling classes and closing campus today. However, the storm is no longer expected to hit the area, according to an email from Melissa Vito, senior vice president for student affairs and enrollment management and chair of the UA Campus Emergency Response Team. Classes and business operations at the UA will continue as normal.

“The Campus Emergency Response Team Executive Policy Group has evaluated current and prospective weather conditions throughout the day and into the evening Wednesday, ultimately determining that there was no cause for closing campus,” according to a UANews statement.

UA administrators had consulted with officials from the National Weather Service, Pima County, the city of Tucson and Pima County Emergency Operations Center in their decision to leave campus open Thursday, the email from Vito said.

Chris Sigurdson, senior associate vice president of university relations, said a decision was made around 8 p.m. in the last conference the executive committee had on Wednesday. The university made a decision to not take precautionary action.

“The decision was that the chance of precipitation had dropped dramatically,” Sigurdson said.

University of Arizona Police Department officers were in standby mode Wednesday afternoon to be supportive and available to the UA campus, said Sergeant Fil Barrera, UAPD public information officer. Had weather conditions worsened, Barrera said officers were prepared to assist people getting around campus.

The severe weather is related to Tropical Storm Odile, which hit Mexico as a hurricane and moved north overland into Arizona. The severe weather hit areas to the south and east of Tucson, according to the National Weather Service.

Throughout Wednesday, sandbags were distributed to the Tucson community in anticipation of flooding. Tucson Police Department officers assisted by directing traffic in the areas of distributions, where backups were occurring, according to a tweet by the department.

The Campus Emergency Response Team had sent an email Tuesday evening alerting UA students and employees to the possibility of closing campus and canceling classes due to the severe weather on Wednesday and Thursday.

After campus was not closed Wednesday, UA officials sent another email which said they would make a decision on the status of the university for today by Wednesday evening.

The Campus Emergency Response Team still advises UA students and employees to exercise caution, Vito’s email said.

—Follow Ethan McSweeney @ethanmcsweeney and Meghan Fernandez @MeghanFernandez

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