As Hurricane Irene barreled up the East Coast of the United States and toward Long Island on August 27th, leaving a behind her a wake of destruction, the C.W. Post Campus braced for the impact.
During the storm, the Pratt Recreational Center, which has been designated as an American Red Cross mega shelter, acted as just that, housing some 90 people who had been evacuated from their own homes throughout Long Island.
C.W. Post Provost, Dr. Paul Forestell said of the arrangement, “We were pleased to provide the American Red Cross with a secure facility on the C.W. Post Campus to assist local citizens impacted by the storm.”
At approximately 5am on Sunday August 28, C.W. Post lost power, forcing the campus to resort to using back-up generators in order to light the facilities being utilized. Due to the storm, the campus was forced to shut down for two days, an event that is unprecedented in C.W. Post history. Power was restored 2 days later on August 30 at approximately 12pm.
The campus radio station WCWP, 88.1FM, conducted live broadcasts from both its on-campus studios and the Pratt Recreational Center, delivering top-of-the-hour reports along with updates from the National Weather Service and the latest evacuation information throughout Saturday night. These updates enabled the 280 students who had stayed on campus to remain up to date with what was going on throughout the storm.
Over all, despite Irene’s high winds and pounding rains, the buildings and campus walked away relatively unscathed, reporting that only small branches had fallen from trees throughout campus. Campus services also reported some minor flooding in buildings like the Little Theater but added that the problems were quickly repaired.
According to Bill Kirker, Director of Facilities Services, damages sustained at the Brookville Campus were limited due to adequate planning on the University’s part. Kirker added, “Early preparations ensured there was no major damage…We pruned trees, moved equipment inside, gassed up generators, and took other precautions to ensure the campus property was secure.”