Click here to return to the James Madison University main page 


If flash flooding occurs during a spring or summer storm, avoid the novelty of wading around new bodies of water - due to quick wash out erosion they may be deeper than you realize. Also, unnoticed water currents may carry you off after footing has been lost causing drowning or battering injuries. Periodically minor flooding does occur on campus, less frequently, major flooding. Areas of concern are:

  • The "College Farm" near Port Republic. Camping is prohibited at the "farm." One reason is that anyone camping by the river bank could be caught unaware by flooding originating from heavy storm upstream.

  • The “C-1” commuter parking lot located off of Grace Street, across from the Facilities Management complex.

  • Areas on either side of the tributary of Black’s Run running parallel to and between Dukes Drive and the Norfolk Southern tracks. This includes the bus stand in the Godwin lot.

  • The intersection of Duke and Bluestone.

  • Mr. Chips convenience store.

  • The Godwin lot.

  • The north side bleacher building (football training room), Bridgeforth Stadium.

  • The west shore, Newman Lake, by Greek row.

  • The tunnel under Interstate 81 connecting the east and west campuses. This is a particularly vulnerable location, especially in flash flooding, especially when the volume of water run off is significant. See the Procedures Specific for the Pedestrian Tunnel under I-81 found below.

  • The grassy lawn just east of Godwin Hall (when heavy volumes of water originate from the tunnel under I-81). This water eventually drains into the lake.

Never wander into a swollen stream since you cannot know where the natural stream bank drops off. If caught outside, stay on high ground. Also, water levels may have reached electrical transcloser boxes or overhead electric service may be down, charging areas with electrical current. Therefore, avoid wading through high water in parking lots, streets and intersections. One area of special concern is the intersection of Duke and Bluestone at the traffic light and railroad crossing by Mr. Chips convenience store.

Once identified, the University Police and other university operational staff will monitor such areas and warn people away. Contact will be made with the Harrisonburg Transit office (432-0492/0491) to modify bus routing away from and around such areas. Notify the Harrisonburg office of the Norfolk Southern Railroad (434-7351/5547) of the impending or actual flooding locations (for potential track road bed erosion or washout). The 24 hour numbers for the railroad are (800)831-6458 (Shenandoah) and (540)981-4739 (Roanoke).

Procedures Specific for the Pedestrian Tunnel under I-81

Special attention will be paid to the I-81 pedestrian tunnel by Public Safety, Parking, and Facilities Management Personnel.

Signs (will be) permanently posted at each tunnel portal, at the threshold of the "Tunnel" lot, at the top of the steps leading from the "Village" (at Carrier Drive) to the west portal of the Tunnel giving notice that the Tunnel and the Tunnel lot are subject to flooding and attendant swift running water.

In advance of anticipated flooding secure gates or set barricades east and west of the tunnel portals at locations set back from either end where they will not be subject to erosion or being carried away by flood waters.

The University Police will monitor weather reports for flood watches and warnings. With the advent of flooding due to torrential rains and/or considerable snow melt/runoff induced by a quick thaw, measures will be taken by the operational university offices (mainly JMU Police 8-6913/6911, Parking (8-3300), Facilities Management Operations (8-6341/6885) and Landscaping Services 8-7963) to monitor conditions at the tunnel and prevent pedestrian, bicycle and/or vehicle access approaching and through the facility.

Notice of anticipated or impending flooding will be transmitted by means of the JMU AM1610 low power radio, the multi-frequency two-way radio system simulcast (includes among others Police, Admin, Grounds frequencies), critical numbers on the emergency telephone "tree," (Media Relations, Web Alert, Events & Conferences, Office of Residence Life, Athletics [Convo Center], UREC, Off Campus Life), the Timely Warning e-mail net, alpha-numeric pagers (JMU Police Chief Lee Shifflett can be reached at . UREC's alpha-numeric pager number is .

The JMU Police Communications Dispatcher will conduct a Multi-Frequency broadcast over all JMU two-way radio frequencies when ever any Inclement Weather/Severe Storm/Flood WARNING and/or WATCH is issued. They will hit the alert button and read the broadcast over the air to all JMU departments and personnel that utilize JMU Licensed Radio Frequencies.

Personnel drawn from Parking, UREC, Police and/or Landscaping Services will be posted at safe locations near either end of the tunnel to monitor and report on changing conditions related to potential flooding as well as stop people from using the tunnel during times of flooding. Any such personnel must have two-way radios capable of transmitting not only on their respective "primary" frequencies, but also the general "Admin" frequency.

High tunnel use centers such as, but not limited to, UREC, Convocation Center, Events & Conferences and the Office of Residence Life will be contacted by the Police Dispatcher(s) and will be alerted as to flood conditions and attendant hazards at the tunnel and other areas subject to flooding. They in turn will activate their internal notification "trees." The UREC and Convo staff will redirect persons departing their respective buildings to exits leading to safe routes for evacuation.

All 24/7 or extended hour (front desk) telephone numbers will be supplied to and periodically updated for Public Safety through its police dispatchers (8-6913 or 6911) with attention to the Director, the Chief of Police, and the Technical Services Commander so that they can be included with these complete and comprehensive flood response "procedures." Currently those critical numbers are:

  • JMU Landscaping Services (8-7963)

  • Facilities Management Work Control Center Day and Night Shift (8-6101)

  • "JMU EXTRA" instant FAX network (8-8008)

  • The "Timely Notification" e-mail tree (8-6769 and/or 8-6913

  • Campus-wide e-mail messaging (Information Technology/Technical Services 8-7063/3904)

  • Web Alert (8-3720 David Taylor, 8-3474/3621/1201 Media Relations)

  • JMU AM1600 low power informational radio station (8-3474/8-3621/8-3720)

  • Events & Conferences (8-3606/8-6330)

  • Office Residence Life (8-3501/6275)

  • College of Business (8-3254)

  • Athletics Operations office Convocation Center (8-8196/8-3930/-8-8036)

  • Athletics Administration office Godwin Hall (8-6164)

  • University Recreation Center (8-8700)

  • University Information desks at…

    • The College Center (8-2592/8-2593)
    • Taylor Hall Down Under (8-7553/8-2806)
    • Warren Hall (8-6138/8-7986).

Key people involved in the periodic review and updating of these procedures are:

JMU Division of Administration and Finance James Madison University Website