The path of Hurricane Florence is constantly being monitored. This post will be updated with changing weather conditions and the responses of the University. Here is what we currently know:
As of Sunday, September 16 the storm was downgraded to a tropical depression with a sustained wind speed of 35 mph and moving at 8 mph. The center of the depression is over central South Carolina and moving west, meaning Charlotte is likely to experience much heavier rainfall today and Monday. The National Weather Service issued a Flash Flood Warning for Mecklenburg County but North Carolina has already experienced a record breaking amount of rainfall at 30 inches. Over 18,000 households have lost power and the death toll has increased to at least 14.
As of Saturday, September 15 Hurricane Florence is now considered a tropical storm rather than a hurricane. Maximum sustained winds are 45 mph and moving extremely slowly at about 2 mph. Mecklenburg County recorded a current maximum of 1.8 inches of rainfall but the county is expected to receive 15 inches. 7,415 households have already lost power in Mecklenburg County. Classes and activities are now cancelled through Monday night while the library will remain open this weekend from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. UNC Charlotte Weather reporter Danielle Miller said we could see effects of the storm into Monday.
As of Friday, September 14, Hurricane Florence is a Category 1 after the maximum wind speed decreased to 90 mph. However, the storm is taking a wider path than anticipated. The hurricane made landfall this morning at Wrightsville Beach and almost 500,000 people in North Carolina have already lost power. Duke Energy warned that 1 million to 3 million of its 4 million customers could lose power over the next few days.
“It’s getting worse,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “The storm is going to continue its violent grind across our state for days and be a major inland event as well.”
The Housing and Residence Life office sent out an email to dorm residents warning of the potential for leaks and power outages. Campus is equipped with an emergency system to warn students of hazardous weather; if students hear a siren, they should go inside immediately and avoid windows. Each dorm has specified locations for these types of emergencies:
Many Charlotte events have been cancelled this weekend and the Mint Museum and Levine Museum of the New South are closed. Charlotte currently has a wind speed of 24 mph with gusts over 30 mph and is now expected to get 10-15 inches of rain. Forecasters warn of an “extreme” risk of flooding on Saturday and Sunday. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will be closed again on Monday as well as Charlotte city and Mecklenburg County offices.
As of Thursday, September 13 Hurricane Florence has been recategorized as Category 2. However, UNC Charlotte Weather Reporter Danielle Miller said that the category of the storm is not what matters. “The strength has decreased slightly but the power of the impacts that [the hurricane] brings on shore are still the same,” she said during a 12 p.m. report. The maximum wind speed decreased to 110 mph but the newest trajectory predicts the storm will come closer to Charlotte. The forecast according to the Washington Post is “Cloudy, breezy summertime weather through Saturday, with showers possible at times. Winds pick up Saturday night into Sunday, gusting up to 30-40 mph, when rain is likely to move in. Rain could continue at times into early next week, with at least 3-6 inches of rain possible, which could cause flooding.” The chance of tornadoes caused by thunderstorms will also increase on Sunday. The dorms will remain open but the Student Health Center is closed Thursday and Friday. Students can still call the center to speak with a FoneMed nurse who will offer advice for acute illness and/or injuries. Dining hours have been modified and can be found here.
As of Wednesday, September 12 Hurricane Florence was still a Category 4 and expected to make landfall in North and South Carolina on Friday with wind speeds of 130 miles per hour. According to the National Hurricane Center, Charlotte was expected to receive 4-6 inches of rain. The University extended the cancellation of classes and activities through Sunday evening. An email sent out at 4:10 p.m. also noted that a decision regarding classes on Monday was to be made by Saturday at 5 p.m. The football game vs. Old Dominion at home was moved from Saturday to Thursday and family weekend as been rescheduled to November 16-17. Police and Public Safety will remain open while the University is closed.
As of Tuesday morning, September 11 classes are still not cancelled. An email disseminated by the University stated, “the storm’s forecasted track has moved slightly to the north and east, which would reduce impacts to Charlotte. Expected effects from the storm continue to be moderate to heavy rain and some gusty winds.” However, the University pointed out that the storm is unpredictable and the path could change drastically before it touches land. As of 5:00 p.m. it was announced that classes and all other activities are cancelled from Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. through Friday at 11:59 p.m. Many other universities, including UNC Chapel Hill and NC Central University cancelled classes as well. Men’s soccer vs. FAU at home, football vs. Old Dominion at home and women’s soccer vs. Rice at home are still scheduled to occur. Volleyball at N.C. Central, women’s tennis at College of Charleston, men’s tennis at Liberty and at Duke and cross country at NC State have all been cancelled. In the meantime, many are buying bottled water and gasoline in anticipation of shortages. Charlotte Water spokesperson Jennifer Frost told the Charlotte Observer, “Right now, we are prepared for any emergency.”
As of Monday, September 10 Hurricane Florence is a Category 4. UNC Charlotte sent out an email informing students that there is a normal schedule under effect because the “…area is not expecting significant effects from the storm beyond moderate to heavy rain and some gusty winds.” According to the National Hurricane Center, the Charlotte region has a greater than 50 percent chance of experiencing tropical storm-force winds (between 39 and 73 mph) later this week. Eastern Carolina University and NC State have both cancelled classes, ECU beginning Tuesday at noon and NC State beginning Wednesday evening. Dreamville Festival, which was supposed to take place Saturday in Raleigh, has been cancelled and all tickets refunded. Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency on September 7.