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Duke to evacuate Marine Lab, likely won’t cancel Durham classes as Dorian looms

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Another year, another hurricane forcing evacuations and canceled classes at Duke’s Marine Lab. 

Duke will evacuate Marine Lab students from Beaufort, N.C., to Durham Wednesday morning and has canceled classes at the lab from Wednesday to Friday in preparation for Hurricane Dorian’s impact, according to a news release. Last September, Hurricane Florence blasted the area, forcing the school to cancel classes for weeks and leaving many buildings at the lab damaged. 

Duke’s main campus is less likely to suffer significant consequences. Projections show less than 3 inches of rain for the area, but flooding could be a problem in some low-lying areas, according to the release. The University does not expect to activate its severe weather and emergency conditions policy, which could cancel classes in Durham. 

School officials expect the storm—once a Category 5 hurricane—to be a Category 2 as it approaches North Carolina's coast. A hurricane watch has been issued for the area, including the Marine Lab. 

The coastal Carolinas can expect 5 to 10 inches of rain and up to 15 inches in some areas, the National Hurricane Center wrote in an update 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Raleigh has a 26% chance of seeing winds at or above 39 mph and a 4% chance of winds at or above 58 mph, according to the NHC update. 

Winds shouldn’t be tropical storm strength, Duke’s news release said, but “outdoor furniture and other loose items should be secured or moved by late Wednesday as a precaution.” 

In 2018, Hurricane Florence was downgraded from a Category 4 storm over the ocean to a Category 1 storm at the time of landfall. Beaufort ran out of food in the storm that left the Marine Lab damaged.

However, it didn’t hit the lab as hard as other nearby areas, Nancy Kelly, director of Nicholas community engagement and events at Duke, told The Chronicle in February. Marine Lab students and faculty also aided in relief efforts. 

“Duke has a lot of resources that others in the community do not,” Kelly said at the time. 

This year, Dorian has left at least five people dead after ravaging the Bahamas. The storm is moving slowly, but had winds of up to 220 mph at one point, the Tampa Bay Times reported

Ben Leonard

Managing Editor 2018-19, 2019-2020 Features & Investigations Editor 

A member of the class of 2020 hailing from San Mateo, Calif., Ben is The Chronicle's Towerview Editor and Investigations Editor. Outside of the Chronicle, he is a public policy major working towards a journalism certificate, has interned at the Tampa Bay Times and NBC News and frequents Pitchforks. 


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