Officials Monitoring Potential Impact of Hurricane Sandy

    Marine Lab taking precautions for heavy rain, winds

Hurricane Sandy will create tropical storm conditions on the coast of North Carolina. (Satellite photo from NASA)

Duke officials are closely monitoring the progress of Hurricane Sandy, which is projected to remain offshore as it moves up the North Carolina coast this weekend.

The storm, a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, is not expected to have a significant impact on the Durham area, but a tropical storm watch was issued early Friday along the coast of North Carolina, including Beaufort, where the Duke University Marine Lab is located.

The National Weather Service has predicted rain amounts of between 4 to 8 inches and winds reaching 30 to 50 mph along the coast Saturday night and Sunday. The greatest impact along the North Carolina coast will likely be flooding of low-lying areas and standing water on roadways.

The Marine Lab began taking precautionary measures on Friday to remove small crafts from the water and secure loose items on the grounds. Students at the Marine Lab were sent an advisory to expect tropical storm conditions late Saturday and Sunday.

"We are not expecting condition that would require us to move people off the island," said Cindy Van Dover, director of the Marine Lab. "We have advised students not to go outside during high winds and to stay off the roads, where standing water and winds on high-rise bridges can pose problems."

Classes at the Marine Lab remain on a normal schedule Friday with no planned activities for the weekend.

Officials will continue to monitor the storm and provide updates as necessary.