Updated as of Sept. 28 at 10:43 p.m.
The National Hurricane Center has downgraded Hurricane Ian to a Category 2 hurricane, with winds reaching 105 mph, it was previously expected to strengthen to just shy of a Category 5 storm.
The original story is below.
The latest projection by the National Weather Service estimates Hurricane Ian will reach North Carolina by Oct. 1. Elon should expect 4 to 6 inches throughout the weekend, starting on Sept. 30 and continuing through Oct. 4, according to the National Weather Service in Raleigh.
Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, including Fort Myers and Naples, are expected to be hit the hardest. According to the Registrar’s Office, Elon has 249 students from Florida enrolled this fall, making up 3.5% of the total student population.
Elon graduate Clay Thompson ’20 lives in Tampa Bay and is staying at a high rise condo with hurricane shutters to wait out the storm. He said he grew up in the area and is not overly concerned, but he does want to take proper precaution.
“The biggest concern is the flooding and also the long term impact of that,” Thompson said. “While I don't anticipate it being something that's going to take weeks or months, it's entirely possible that there could be additional days without power or storm damage, or trees that have been knocked down, other things making the city more difficult to navigate.”
Thompson said his windows are currently boarded up, so he does not have a view outside of the current conditions, but based on his experience growing up in Tampa, he expects storm surge, significant flooding and damage. He said, as of now, he has the tools he needs to last.
“My family are pretty well prepped right now with items, but you never know what's going to happen, so it's just a matter of preparing for the worst and hoping for the best,” he said.
According to Duke Energy spokesperson Jennifer Sharpe, the company sent 10,000 line workers to Florida from its Midwest locations. She said all employees based in North and South Carolina will stay there to assist if there is damage.
If Elon is hit by the hurricane this weekend, the university said in a Sept. 27 press release it will update the community on changes to Family Weekend activities. No changes have been announced at this time, and the football game is still scheduled for 2 p.m., Oct. 1. The next update from the university is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sept. 28.
Aidan Blake contributed to the reporting of this story.