Strengthening hurricane has ADs weighing options for WVU-N.C. State

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Administrators from West Virginia University and N.C. State monitoring the progress of Hurricane Florence plan to talk Monday regarding contingencies about next weekend’s football game in Raleigh.

After more than 48 hours as a tropical storm, Florence regained Category 1 hurricane status Sunday, showing sustained winds up to 75 mph as it rumbled in the Atlantic about 750 miles southeast of Bermuda.

The National Hurricane Center’s updated forecast projects Florence will strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane by the time it makes landfall Thursday night or early Friday morning near the North Carolina-South Carolina border.

No. 14 West Virginia (2-0) and the Wolfpack (2-0) are scheduled to play an important nonconference game Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Raleigh is 130 miles from the coast and could be impacted by flooding from prolonged heavy rainfall.

“We will talk with N.C. State on Monday and see how the storm is looking,” Mountaineers athletics director Shane Lyons told MetroNews on Sunday. “That’s when we’ll determine what options we may have.”

The home-and-home series calls for N.C. State to play a return game at West Virginia next season. Shifting this week’s game to Morgantown would create major logistical issues with ticket distribution, lodging and public safety responders.

The teams do not share a bye week later this season. The Wolfpack is off Oct. 13, while West Virginia is idle Oct. 20 ahead of a Thursday night game against Baylor on Oct. 25

Marshall’s game at South Carolina on Saturday also could be impacted. Herd athletics director Mike Hamrick anticipated talking with officials in Columbia, S.C., on Monday.

Gov. Roy Cooper warned North Carolina residents Sunday to “take steps now” as the storm approaches.

“Everyone in North Carolina needs to keep a close eye on Florence and take steps now to get ready for impacts later this week,” Cooper said. “State emergency management, transportation, health experts and others are making sure North Carolina is prepared for the storm, and I urge the public to review your emergency plans and gather your supplies now.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration anticipates the storm strengthening to “major hurricane” status over the next two days, signalling wind speeds greater than 110 mph.

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