RAHC shuts early as Hurricane Emily looms

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio’s Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen closed early by presidential order on Monday as Hurricane Emily appeared ready to bear down on the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

All non-essential personnel were sent home to make their own preparations for the storm.

“The library was the last area open and everybody was packing things up. Facilities management is busy boarding up the building right now,” Cpl. Darrell Earhart of university police said at 3:13 p.m. Monday. “Brownsville may get it pretty good and we are 30 to 35 minutes from Brownsville and about 45 minutes from South Padre Island.”

The order to close from Health Science Center President Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., came at 11 a.m. in an e-mail and was effective immediately for non-essential personnel. About 50 people work full time in the RAHC Medical Education Division at 2102 Treasure Hills Blvd. and many more, such as RAHC faculty, routinely visit the building daily.

An emergency generator will kick in if the storm stops main power.

“We are waiting to see what this is going to do,” Cpl. Earhart said. “Hopefully we’ll just be getting a lot of rain from it, but not a lot of wind. We really need rain here in the Valley.”

The RAHC will remain closed until the threat from Emily is decreased and President Cigarroa issues an announcement to reopen.

“If something should happen, we do have an emergency plan for university police department personnel from San Antonio and Laredo to go to the Valley to assist,” said Capt. Ron Davidson of the university police in San Antonio.

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