Photo and video by Jennifer Parker, UNCP junior.
Updated on Sunday 1:42 p.m.
Breaking: UNC Pembroke has suspended classes and all other operations until Wednesday, September 19 as the university is still operating under Condition 3.
As of Saturday, approximately 800,000 people are without power in North and South Carolina combined. Majority of the outages are coming from counties: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus Craven, Duplin, New Hanover, Robeson, Sampson, Wake, Wayne, Pamlico, Pender and Onslow counties.
UNC Pembroke is experiencing heavy rains with power outages and little to no flooding.
According to ABC 11, more storm surges and flooding is still anticipated to follow in the near future. Lumber river is currently under 12 ft. of water and I-95 is flooded from multiple exits.
As the flood waters could potentially contain toxins and other pathogens, Robeson county issued a boil advisory for water Friday evening.
On Friday morning, Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach as a category 1 storm with winds up to 80 mph.
Florence’s winds will reach up to 70 miles from the center of the hurricane extending far into southeastern North Carolina and much of eastern South Carolina region, according to the National Hurricane Center. Storm surges are expected to bring as much as 40 inches of rain to some areas of the Carolinas creating catastrophic flash flooding.
The surges could prevail as far as two miles inland if heavy rainfall remains consistent. According to the AP, over 500,000 people are currently without power on the coast of the Carolinas as well as further inland.
“You’re going to have flooding miles and miles inland,” National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said.
Five shelters within Robeson County are open for people in the local community to evacuate to for higher ground to avoid potential flooding. The five shelters are as follows: Purnell Swett High School, Lumberton High School, St. Pauls High School, Fairmont High School and South Robeson High School.
Currently Lumberton High School and Fairmont Middle School are at maximum capacity.
According to an update provided by UNC Pembroke, “The university has begun to experience strong winds and rainfall but anticipates the most severe weather beginning this afternoon into Saturday evening. The National Weather Service has indicated Robeson County should expect extreme rainfall amounts and subsequent Matthew-like flooding.”
The university is currently operating under Condition 3 under which all classes and scheduled activities are canceled until further notice. Non-mandatory staff and faculty have also been advised to leave campus.
According to campus police, approximately 20 students are currently still on campus and even more students remaining in off campus housing. The students still on campus have all been moved to Cypress hall for safety reasons.
In an email released by the university Executive Director Jodi Phelps, “Sodexo will deliver non-perishable items and boxed meals and beverages in Cypress Hall through Sunday.” The dining hall will remain closed through the weekend.
In an email sent out Thursday afternoon, Chancellor Cummings stated his solidarity with the university.
“You may be understandably anxious facing yet another major hurricane. Know that I share your fears and concern. But what I know with certainty is the resilience and strength that lies within BraveNation. After Matthew, our university and community came together like never before to support one another and begin rebuilding,” Cummings wrote.
If any faculty members or students are suffering from emotional stress due to the natural disaster, you can call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 to get in touch with a crisis counselor.
Photo and video by Jennifer Parker, junior.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.