Hurricane Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm, veering further west than originally predicted. Elon saw heavy morning rains as part of the storm system, but was spared from Irma's winds and destruction. ENN has coverage of the storm's progress in the days leading up to its arrival in the United States and stories from those whose homes were right in Irma's path.
With a path that brought the winds and rain through Georgia and Tennessee, tropical storm Irma largely missed Elon. The outer edge of Irma's massive storm system passed over Elon on Tuesday, bringing heavy rain and cold temperatures to campus in the day's early hours. The temperature dipped as low as 59 degrees, and 0.9 inches of rain came down throughout the day.
Even though Irma missed Elon, campus is still seeing heavy rains today. pic.twitter.com/MxmgoVVKs5— Alex Hager (@awhager) September 12, 2017
6:20 p.m. Sunday
“It was the hardest thing to see pictures of St. Thomas after the hurricane and to think that was home. That was where I had grown up and now there is nothing left.”
Although Hurricane Irma is only just now making landfall in the continental United States, the storm has already ravaged parts of the Caribbean. We spoke to Elon students from the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Bahamas to hear about the impact Irma has had on their home islands.
4:55 p.m. Saturday
Talking to students around campus, we learned a few different hurricane preparation strategies. From stocking up on food to preparing for a "Hunger Games free-for-all", see what students are saying about their plans for Irma's arrival.
3:09 p.m. Saturday
Even as projections are indicating that the path of the hurricane may travel further west than anticipated, the Elon community is still being urged to take precautions.
9:58 a.m. Saturday
Yesterday, Town of Elon officials participated in the NC Central Branch Conference call to discuss Hurricane Irma preparations.
"At this time, it appears to be taking a more westerly direction, and our area at this time is expected to receive one to two inches of rain and possibly wind gusts of up to 20 to 40 miles per hour," said Alva Sizemore, Town of Elon fire chief in an email following the call. "Here in town, as well as [Elon] University, we have prepared as far as our equipment, vehicles, personnel are concerned for continuation of town services. We will monitor the situation throughout the weekend and will notify all the key stakeholders should something warrant a change."
The National Weather Service has predicted showers to begin after 2 p.m. Monday and continue through Tuesday night.
4:18 p.m. Friday
As Florida's southern coast braces for Irma's landfall, some Elon students from the area are worried about their families back home. Lindsey DeLorey, from Cocoa Beach, Florida, took time to talk to ENN about the storm.
11:30 a.m. Friday
The National Weather Service in Raleigh releases a forecast report for central North Carolina detailing the extent of Irma's potential impact in the region. The service indicates that the storm will veer more westward than previous predictions stated, but the region will still likely see severe weather.
The NWS predicts that there will be wind gusts of 35 to 40 m.p.h., which could lead to isolated downed trees and isolated power outages. The service expects two to four inches of rain, which could cause localized short-term flooding, but most likely not long-term river overflow flooding.
6:49 p.m. Thursday
Although nobody is certain of Irma's exact future path, scientific predictions are combined on maps to give the public an idea of some potential outcomes. One projection shows Irma traveling into North Carolina, directly over Elon University's campus sometime on Tuesday. The projection, depicted by an orange line in the pictures below, is called the CLP5 model.
One model of Irma's path looks like it could hit Elon. Follow that orange line and you'll see it goes DIRECTLY over Danieley Neighborhood... pic.twitter.com/tL1HygTDL7— Alex Hager (@awhager) September 7, 2017
4:56 p.m. Thursday
Alamance County residents prepare for the storm by stocking up on provisions. Local grocery and convenience stores are seeing huge demand for bottled water, as locals gather gallons of drinking water in case the city's water supply goes down during the storm.
9:50 a.m. Thursday
Some Elon students hail from areas in the direct path of the storm. Junior Konner Kendall lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and joined ELN Morning to talk about the impact the storm could have on his home.
5:17 p.m. Wednesday
Jon Dooley, Vice President for Student Life, sends an email to Elon faculty, staff and students with information about storm preparation and a note about students from Florida and the Caribbean, areas which are in Irma's direct path.
"Elon’s staff in Physical Plant, Student Life, and other campus departments have taken steps to prepare for the storm," Dooley said, "ensuring that generators are operating and have sufficient fuel, stocking extra food in dining halls, preparing for responding to student needs in residential facilities, and arranging equipment and staff schedules to be ready to respond to campus issues."
Dooley warned that, although Elon is not on the coast, there is still a possibility of power outages, minor flooding, downed trees and occasional wind damage in central North Carolina. He advised students to avoid driving into water-covered roadways, look out for falling branches on campus during high wind, locate a flashlight, charge electronics, and consider stocking up on extra food and water supplies.
Dooley also said that the Division of Student Life reached out to all 32 Elon students with permanent addresses in the Caribbean and the 237 students with addresses in Florida, "expressing concern for their families and reminding them of resources available on campus."