Updated 2 p.m. on Sept. 13
Universities around North Carolina have been making preparations ahead of Hurricane Florence, which has been upgraded to a Category 4 major hurricane with maximum possible wind speeds of up to 130 miles per hour.
As officials around the state have urged residents to be prepared, universities have done the same. East Carolina University canceled classes after noon on Tuesday and announced a mandatory evacuation notice for students. Residence halls on campus will close at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
ECU's Jeannine Hutson said the university is encouraging students to go home.
“We are strongly encouraging students who live on and off campus to travel home and find lodging in the western part of the state,” Hutson said.
But she said the school has many out-of-state and international students who have no place to go. For those students, the school is making on-campus shelters available.
“‘We will put them in one of the larger residence halls on campus,” Hutson said. “We’ll also open up lounge areas, offices — places like that.”
For students that don’t live on campus, but don’t have a place to evacuate to, Hutson said the school’s directing them to the five shelters being held in local middle schools and operated by Pitt County.
Other universities along the coast are also making preparations for the severe weather. Elizabeth City State University canceled classes through the end of the week and will close residence halls starting Wednesday. Shelter will also be provided at ECSU for students who cannot evacuate. UNC Wilmington is also canceling classes and closing residence halls, but has partnered with UNC Asheville to provide shelter on the Western university’s campus for students who have no place else to go.
Here is a list of other schools around the state who are canceling classes through the end of the week:
- UNC Greensboro: Classes canceled starting noon on Wednesday. Residence and dining halls will remain open.
- UNC Chapel Hill: Classes canceled beginning 5 p.m. Tuesday through the rest of the week. Saturday’s home football game against the University of Central Florida is canceled, along with all other athletic events scheduled for this week.
- Duke University: Classes canceled after 5 p.m. Wednesday through the rest of the week. All athletic events scheduled this week will are canceled.
- North Carolina State University: All classes from noon Wednesday through the rest of the week are canceled. Residence halls, dining halls and on-campus apartments are open. The NC State football game against West Virginia University will not be played Saturday.
- NC Central University: Classes canceled from Wednesday through the end of the week.
- UNC Pembroke: All classes and scheduled activities canceled Wednesday through the end of the week. The school is encouraging students to leave campus, but residence and dining halls will remain open.
- Winston-Salem University: Classes are canceled beginning Thursday through the end of the week. Residence and dining halls will remain open.
- North Carolina A&T: All classes are canceled beginning noon Wednesday through the end of the week. Residence and dining halls will remain open.
- Appalachian State University: All classes canceled from 5 p.m. Wednesday through the rest of the week.
- UNC Charlotte: All classes canceled from 5 p.m. Wednesday through the rest of the week. Residence halls and some campus dining halls will remain open. Saturday's football game against Old Dominion has been moved to 4 p.m. Thursday.
- Pfeiffer University: Classes canceled for Friday and Monday.
- Winthrop University: Classes canceled for Friday and Monday.
Fayetteville State University has not yet announced decisions to cancel classes ahead of the hurricane.