Officials Monitoring Forecasts for Hurricane Joaquin

Heavy rains, wind could increase potential for downed trees and power lines

Updated: 10:40 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2, 2015

The latest forecast from the National Weather Service indicate that Hurricane Joaquin will continue to track along a more northeastern path that will lessen the potential impact for central North Carolina.About 1-2 inches of rain is expected during the day Friday with an additional 1-2 inches of rain overnight. Winds will be sustained at 10-20 miles per hour with gust between 40-45 miles per hour. There is still a risk with the ground saturation of some flooding in low lying areas and possible downed trees.Members of the Duke community are encouraged to report any potential safety-related issues, such as downed trees or power lines, immediately to Duke Police at 919-684-2444.On Saturday, the rain end by noon with dry conditions in the afternoon and evening with temperatures in the upper 60s.

The Duke Football game and other athletic events will be held as scheduled. Check the Event Calendar for updates about other activities.

Updated: 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015

The latest forecast from the National Weather Service suggest a slightly improved outlook for central North Carolina this weekend with total rain of 3 to 5 inches expected from Thursday night through Sunday. On Saturday, only 1 inch of rain is expected with periods of sun possible in the afternoon; however, there is still much uncertainty in the weather models. Downed trees from saturated ground and 20 to 30 mile per hour wind gusts remain a concern. “We have two tree removal companies on stand-by if needed,” said John Noonan, vice president for Facilities.  Duke Athletics has eight different games scheduled from Friday to Monday and expect all to be held as scheduled, including the Duke Football game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The Duke Marine Lab on Pivers Island in Beaufort, N.C., is closer to the direct path of the hurricane and is taking steps to ensure the safety and security of students, personnel and facilities. There are 38 residential students from Duke and UNC currently on the island, and arrangements have been made to relocate them to the Triangle if necessary. A decision will be made Friday afternoon based on updated forecasts and the projected path of the hurricane. Members of the Duke community are encouraged to use caution while traveling on and around campus during heavy rain or winds and report any potential safety-related issues, such as downed trees or power lines, immediately to Duke Police at 919-684-2444.

Original story posted: 9:11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015

Duke officials are monitoring forecasts related to the path of Hurricane Joaquin and are preparing for heavy rain and winds the next few days. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for most of central North Carolina, which is expected to receive a total of 4-8 inches of rain through Sunday. Widespread heavy rain is expected to develop Thursday night with sustained winds of 10-20 miles per hour and gusts up to 30 miles per hour. The heavy rains and winds will increase the potential for downed trees and power lines. Kyle Cavanaugh, Duke's emergency coordinator and vice president for administration, said that the Emergency Management Team is already in close contact with officials from the Duke Marine Lab, located on Pivers Island in Beaufort, N.C.

"Our colleagues at the Marine Lab are assessing contingency plans and expect to make a decision about the possibility of evacuation by Friday afternoon based the latest models for the projected path of the storm," he said. All events this weekend are currently expected to be held as scheduled. Founders Day activities have been moved indoors, and all Duke Athletic events will continue as planned. Additional information about events will be communicated as forecasts and weather conditions evolve. Cavanaugh said that Duke is not currently expecting to activate the severe weather and emergency conditions policy this weekend, but he encouraged faculty, staff and students to monitor Duke Today and other communication channels as conditions change.

"Given the possibility of severe weather conditions, employees are encouraged to review Duke's severe weather and emergency conditions policy to ensure they understand what to do if the policy is activated," he said.

During times of severe weather, some staff positions require on-site presence to continue operations. To ensure continuous operations of patient care, student support and research functions, managers should assign all jobs to one of three service categories:

  • Essential Service: During severe weather or emergency conditions, essential service staff report or remain at work. 
  • Reserve Service: During severe weather or emergency conditions, reserve service staff are assigned a status at the time of the event.
  • Delayed Service: During severe weather or emergency conditions, delayed service staff do not report to or remain at work.

If the severe weather policy is activated, the announcement will be made through the various DukeALERT channels, including email, text message, and Duke's emergency website. A message also will be recorded on the severe weather/emergency conditions telephone line at 684-INFO (4636).

For more information about the current status of the hurricane and Duke’s preparations, please monitor the Duke Today website.