Ahead of Hurricane Florence, universities cancel classes, evacuation encouraged

Hurricane Florence heads toward Carolinas followed by Isaac and Helene

A loop of NOAA satellite imagery shows Hurricane Florence heading toward the Carolinas followed by Isaac and Helene. Florence could hit the Carolinas as a major hurricane later this week.
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A loop of NOAA satellite imagery shows Hurricane Florence heading toward the Carolinas followed by Isaac and Helene. Florence could hit the Carolinas as a major hurricane later this week.

Hurricane Florence is currently forecast by many computer models to center its landfall in Wilmington, N.C.

In anticipation of the potentially devastating storm, events will be canceled and there is a possibility of evacuations in Wilmington and up the East Coast, from South Carolina to the mid-Atlantic region.

The University of North Carolina Wilmington is getting a head start on cancellations and an evacuation before the hurricane unleashes its impact. Tropical-storm-force winds from Florence could be felt as early as Wednesday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In anticipation, UNC Wilmington issued “a voluntary evacuation for students,” which will begin Monday at noon, according to the university’s website. Additionally at noon, classes will be canceled.

All university-sponsored events and athletics have also been canceled.

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“Students are encouraged, but not required, to leave campus for a safer location,” the university wrote in a statement.

UNC Wilmington posted that it’s continuing to track the hurricane, and will provide updates. It could also change the status of the “voluntary evacuation,” according to the university’s statement.

Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach will have classes Monday, but has announced they have been canceled beyond that, pending further notice.

“CCU will cancel classes on Tuesday and will provide 24 hours’ notice before classes are resumed,” the university reported on its website, adding it wants students to be prepared for a possible evacuation.

Charleston Southern is also canceling all classes, beginning after 2 p.m. Monday, according to a news release from the university. The campus offices will close at 4 p.m., and all sporting events, activities and visits are also canceled after 4 p.m.

The university asked all students to “evacuate campus as soon as possible,” because residence halls are closing Tuesday at noon, and only “essential personnel should report to campus on Tuesday.”

A state of emergency has been declared in North Carolina and South Carolina, ahead of Hurricane Florence.

In spite of that, S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster said there are no official plans for an evacuation in the Palmetto State, at this point. But like UNC Wilmington, S.C. is preparing for the possibility of a required evacuation.

This is not an evacuation,” McMaster said, the Greenville News reported. “It allows agencies to begin mobilizing assets to get them down to the coast for if and when the hurricane arrives.”

Another change caused by the coming hurricane is no swimming on certain Outer Banks beaches, according to Dare County. “Everyone must stay out of the water,” as Florence continues to strengthen, Dare County’s Emergency Management posted on Twitter.

The Duke University Marine Lab Emergency Management Team reported that it will meet Monday and will provide an update that is likely to include information about an evacuation, the university’s website reported.

A ceremony planned Tuesday to honor the 9/11 anniversary by the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base has been postponed, according to a news release.

The state of South Carolina is preparing for some level of impact from Hurricane Florence, Gov. Henry McMaster announced Sunday.

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