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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Florida A&M campus, stadium sustain tornado damage

A tornado severely damaged the campus of Florida A&M on Friday, one exponentially more impactful than any hurricane of late.  Several roofs were damaged, trees are down all over campus and even the football stadium sustained damage.  One of the four main light poles was literally folded in half and now hangs on the east side of Bragg Memorial Stadium.

Florida A&M facilities management and plant operations were scrambling to secure several buildings before the end of the work week.  With more rain expected over the weekend, some issues could not wait until Monday to be resolved.  Contractors were on emergency call to deal with the situation.

Power lines are down allover campusPower lines are down allover campus

The Tallahassee Tornado literally woke Florida A&M up

Between 7:00AM-7:30AM on May 10, after a very short advance warning to cell phones and mobile devices, the weather dramatically deteriorated.  Heavy rain and winds swept through the North Florida area and left substantial carnage in its wake.  Over 80,000 residents lost power in the midst.

The Florida A&M layout is beautiful, complete with neighboring trees.  Those trees became victims of the high winds and many either broke in half or tumbled over as the roots were unable to sustain the force of the wind.  Adding to the moist soil from heavy rain over the past week, oak trees over a hundred years old were left on their side.  Many of them took down power lines with them.  Accessing campus was an obstacle course.

Florida A&M
Florida A&M

Bragg Stadium and the surrounding areas took a beating.  The west side of the stadium, where the well-known Perry Street resides, was virtually inaccessible.  Fallen trees and downed power lines were evident nearly the entire span of the street.  Yellow tape marked off the areas to prohibit adventurists from attempting to access the area.  Several power lines were spread across Perry Street with heavy trees weighing them down.

The rest of the recently-renovated stadium held its own, with the exception of one of the main lighting towers on the east side of the stadium.  Nearly on the 50-yard line, the pole literally folded in half.  This will be an issue for the athletics department to resolve before the 2024 football season.

Florida A&M
Florida A&M

Florida Governor declares a state of emergency

Help could be around the corner for FAMU.  Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency which immediately unlocked access to funding to make emergency repairs.  While DeSantis has been controversial in many of his rulings, he has been responsive and giving to FAMU.  Under his administration, FAMU has received a major portion of requested funding that it requested from the state.  This relationship will assist in the near future as FAMU will spend much of the Summer readying campus for a full slate of students in the Fall.

Florida A&M campus, stadium sustain tornado damage

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