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How to protect your car during Hurricane Florence

Here are all the parking and transportation updates in preparation for the storm

Hundreds of cars are parked on Duke's campus on any given day. With a Category 4 storm on its way, here are some tips to protect yourself and your car. 

When Hurricane Florence hits land, high winds and rainfall flooding will likely consume Bull City, Wes Hohenstein, chief meteorologist at CBS 17, told The Chronicle Sunday. On the ground in Durham, winds are likely to reach a speed of more than 70 miles per hour, which may create unsafe conditions for drivers. 

Most days, trees that enclose and fill Duke's campus complete the school's scenic aesthetic. But, combined with high winds, those same trees may cause damage to your car. For example, a fallen branch or other debris could break your windshield or dent the top. 

However, some students will not have to park their car in the elements. Andrew Hinz, senior operations manager for Duke Parking and Transportation Services, sent out an email Thursday afternoon permitting some students to park their cars in the Science Drive parking garage starting Thursday at 5 p.m. until Sunday at 9 p.m.

Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, wrote in an email Tuesday that he recommends students to "avoid driving as much as possible during the storm" and "avoid parking under tree limbs as best I can." 

Regarding driving, National Weather Service aptly warned: "Turn Around, Don’t Drown." 

"If you see a road covered in water or blocked off due to flooding, do not drive on it," the City of Raleigh's emergency preparedness website recommended

Moneta also reminded students to take precautions against hydroplaning, the condition where a car slides uncontrollably on a wet road.

"Hydroplaning can occur when you least expect it!" he wrote.

The City of Raleigh's website said that it takes about 18 inches of water to sweep a car downstream. 

"Once a vehicle becomes buoyant, the water will easily push it sideways. Most vehicles will then tend to roll over, potentially trapping those inside," said the website

Duke Parking and Transportation services have also begun preparing for the oncoming hurricane.

The department has obtained additional fuel for buses and is planning to rope off parking deck roofs Thursday evening, wrote Carl DePinto, director of Parking and Transportation Services, in an email to The Chronicle.

"Since this past weekend, Parking and Transportation Services has been working with Duke’s Emergency Management Team to prepare for any impacts from Hurricane Florence later this week," he wrote. "We are expecting strong winds and heavy rain Thursday and Friday that could lead to downed trees and potential flooding in low-lying areas."

He added that changes to the bus routes or schedule resulting from Hurricane Florence would be conveyed to students "through Duke's official channels."

The University announced Tuesday morning that classes would be canceled after 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Follow The Chronicle's latest coverage of Hurricane Florence here.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include information about the email sent by Parking and Transportation Services Thursday afternoon.


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