Graduate Students

Texas Coastal Colleges Evacuating Ahead of Hurricane Ike

September 10, 2008

Colleges and universities along Texas’ Gulf Coast began emptying out today in anticipation of Hurricane Ike’s arrival by early Saturday, possibly as a Category 3 or 4 storm.

Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, which bills itself as “The Island University” because of its location on a small coastal island, ordered everyone except essential personnel to leave. International students and some staff members were bused to Texas A&M International University, in Laredo.

Staff members at the university’s art museum, which looks out at Corpus Christi Bay, were scrambling to wrap and elevate valuable paintings. A Gulf research center was planning to move boats to a local mall’s parking garage. Faculty and staff members were sent home to begin securing their houses and then, for many, evacuating inland.

The University of Texas Medical Branch, in Galveston, has not evacuated patients, but officials there said the university would close tomorrow because the area was expected to be hit with tropical-storm winds and a storm surge by early Friday. Dry ice was being delivered to research buildings, and researchers were told to load their freezers in anticipation of power outages.

Del Mar College, a community college in Corpus Christi, also closed on Wednesday.

The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College have begun piling sandbags around buildings and preparing to board windows, “but right now, we’re just watching the progress of the storm to see where it goes,” said Leticia Fernandez, a spokeswoman for the joint campuses.

The University of Houston-Victoria and Texas A&M University at Kingsville also closed on Wednesday. The Kingsville campus plans to start evacuating students tomorrow morning.

Other Texas colleges announcing closures included Brazosport College, in Lake Jackson; San Jacinto College, in Pasadena; and the University of Houston-Clear Lake. —Katherine Mangan