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Hurricane Florence strengthens to Category 4: What that means for Duke, Durham

At noon on Monday, Hurricane Florence blew into a Category 4 classification, a level experts previously predicted wouldn’t occur until later in the week.

Hurricane Florence’s winds jumped up from 75 mph to 130 mph in just 25 hours, according to the Weather Channel. The rapidly growing hurricane—currently circling Bermuda—is expected to make contact with the East Coast early Thursday morning, predicted Wes Hohenstein, chief meteorologist at CBS 17. He told The Chronicle Sunday that once Florence hits land, destructive winds and immense rainfall flooding may take hold of the area.

Duke officials are closely monitoring forecasts for Hurricane Florence, which is on its way to becoming one of the strongest storms to hit the Southeast coast, according the Weather Channel.

“It’s too soon to know what impact this storm may have on the Triangle and on our campus, but we’re taking all necessary precautions,” wrote Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, in an email to students Monday afternoon.

Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for North Carolina Friday, and the Marine Lab—which is just off the coast—will be evacuated Thursday.

“Over the next day or so, the situation will become clearer and we’ll communicate plans as they develop,” Moneta wrote. “Duke Dining is stocking up on food and arrangements are being made to secure the campus.”

What you can do to prepare:

The Chronicle will be keeping you updated throughout the week about forecasts, decisions Duke makes and other emergency information, so make sure to check for new guidance every day or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. To get accurate information about Hurricane Florence’s path, visit the National Hurricane Center’s website.

Buy water, a flashlight, batteries and nonperishable foods as soon as you can. As of Monday afternoon, the Lobby Shop in the Bryan Center and East Campus Store still have water and emergency supplies. However, during hurricanes, these items can sell out quickly, so make sure to go as early as possible. Local stores have mostly run out of water and don't know when new shipments will come in.