As the winds, rains and other impacts of Hurricane Matthew–now declared a Category 4 hurricane–hit Haiti and the Bahamas, making its way through the east coast, towards the west, SCAD students should prepare for possible impact.

“The further west you go the safer you are,” said WJCL Meteorologist and SCAD Dean of Liberal Arts Beth Concepcion.

SCAD issued an email notifying students that the storm is being closely monitored at around noon on Tuesday. Another email was sent out shortly after, letting students know that classes will be cancelled Wednesday, Oct. 5, to Thursday, Oct. 6, and that all SCAD buildings will be closed from Wednesday through Sunday.

Students are encouraged to evacuate, if possible, and to devise a plan if evacuation is required. “It was going a little bit more to the east, now it’s going more towards the west,” Concepcion said.

“I think we’ll have a better idea Wednesday where exactly it’s going to go. Of course, as it gets closer we are going to know better where it’s going to go,” she added.

Concepcion shared what she thinks the effects the hurricane would look like in Savannah. Particularly in the coastal and low-country areas of the town.

“Obviously it’s going to affect the islands. Obviously it’s going to affect low-lying areas, and we know that when we have a heavy rain that there are many parts of the city that flood,” Concepcion explained. “Parts of Ardsley Park, parts of Baldwin Park, parts of the Victorian District all flood.

Despite the sense of urgency and suggestion to students to evacuate if possible, the people of Savannah have yet to be mandated to evacuate. The town has not been declared to be, in a ‘state of emergency.’

South Carolina, however, has issued an evacuation for the coast, and states of emergency have been declared in parts of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. Again, despite the actions of near-by states Chatham County has yet to order a voluntary or mandatory evacuation for Savannah and surrounding areas.

“Chatham County is not currently under any tropical storm or hurricane watches or warnings,” said Kristin Fulford, spokeswoman for the Chatham Emergency Management Agency.

“The current track is still forecasting the storm to remain off Georgia’s coast,” she added.

As of Tuesday evening, SCAD has not ordered an evacuation of the campus, despite canceling classes. If an evacuation is ordered, Savannah students who cannot evacuate themselves will be transported by bus to the Atlanta campus.

According to Dean of Students David Blake, SCAD will be communicating with students via SCAD Alert text messages, emails and the SCAD homepage. For more information and updates on the state of Hurricane Matthew or its potential impact on Savannah, visit the emergency preparedness website

Written by Asli Shebe.