UNCW issues statement after Hurricane Dorian upgraded to Category 5



This map shows the probabilities of hurricane force winds from Dorian. (Photo Credit: NHC)

William Becker, Staff Writer

As of Saturday morning, UNC Wilmington students were hit with the news that Hurricane Dorian is projected to impact the coast of North Carolina, almost a year after Hurricane Florence. However, with projections generally being unpredictable, it is too early for campus officials to come up with a definitive plan.

Hurricane Dorian has recently been upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane and is tied for one of the strongest hurricanes on record, so the possibility of Wilmington getting hit with a hurricane a second year in a row has become a much more terrifying reality.

It is important to remember that a hurricane’s “category” is only rated by its wind speed. Hurricane Florence was a Category 4 until it made landfall and downgraded to a Category 1, yet the intense rainfall caused severe amounts of damage from flooding and caused the school to evacuate for a month. Presently, Dorian’s wind speed is clocked at over 180 miles per hour.

The most recent piece of information that has been put out by UNCW is that by 12 p.m. on Monday, the decision will be announced if classes will either be delayed or cancelled for the following week. This leaves some with the assumption that a call for mandatory evacuation will come soon after, as Dorian is expected to arrive in Wilmington by Thursday and official UNCW policy states that “The time of the mandatory evacuation notice will allow students six hours of safe driving time in daylight hours prior to the arrival of 40 mile per hour winds.”

Early Sunday morning, UNCW’s official Facebook page posted the following update:

Screenshot of UNCW's Facebook post from August 31, 2019
Caitlyn Dark
Screenshot of UNCW’s Facebook post about Hurricane Dorian from September 1, 2019

“If you’re anything like us, your first waking thought these days is ‘Dorian!’ — and then you fumble for your phone to get the overnight update. The path and predictions could and likely will change several times between now and the possible arrival of impacts here in Wilmington, but one thing remains: We are all in this – whatever This may end up being – together, and we hope there is some small comfort in that. We are thinking of folks south of here, especially in the Bahamas and Florida, and as for our own area, we promise to share what we know when we know it. Updates will appear in real time as national and regional authorities reach higher confidence in their predictions and university decisions are made, if necessary. Thank you for your patience and understanding!”

The news section of the college website reported that students should “begin to consider and finalize their plans in the event that an evacuation must occur.” Students should consider making a list of things to take from their dorms (namely anything valuable) and be ready to move fast. Any student that does not have an evacuation location should immediately contact their resident adviser. Updates will most frequently be coming from the UNCW Facebook page.