This weekend’s slate of HBCU football games may have another unexpected opponent. On Monday morning, tropical storm Ian was upgraded to Category 1 Hurricane Ian. Churning in the southern Caribbean near the Cayman Islands as of Sunday night, Ian is expected to make landfall as a major hurricane as severe weather modeling shows a track that could scrape Tampa and central Florida and bounce out into the Gulf of Mexico, strengthening in the warm waters. As of Monday, weather forecasts predict that Ian will undergo rapid intensification, meaning an increase of wind speed of 35 mph in a 24-hour period.
After the bounce, it is expected to hit Florida with a path of many options, but Tallahassee could be in the center of the target. Prediction software by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) National Hurricane Center has shifted the trajectory east of where it was originally forecast.
As of Sunday night, winds in Ian were at 60 mph. But, as of early Monday morning wind speed had picked up to over 75 mph. With the storm expecting to strengthen over the next several days, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis and U.S. President Joe Biden have both declared a state of emergency for Florida ahead of Hurricane Ian. This allows release of aid in advance of the impending storm. It also allows for staging of emergency supplies, eliminating some travel for truckers in emergency areas to deliver critical supplies in the aftermath of a hurricane strike.
Bethune-Cookman has closed its campus effective Monday, Sept. 26 at 12 noon and encouraged students to return to their homes to seek shelter. Florida A&M has three emergency meetings on Sunday and will have another on Monday at 2:00PM. Edward Waters and Albany State have not yet published plans for their campuses.
Several HBCU football games could be affected by conditions following Hurricane Ian if it makes landfall on Friday or is ahead of the landfall if the storm stalls as some have been known to do. While we are working on nearly a week’s forecast, here are the games that could potentially be affected by Hurricane Ian:
(MEAC) SC State vs. South Carolina
(SWAC) Bethune-Cookman vs. Alabama A&M
(SWAC) Mississippi Valley vs. Florida A&M
(SIAC) Miles College vs. Albany State
(SIAC) Benedict College vs. Fort Valley State
(SIAC) Morehouse vs. Edward Waters
(SIAC) Kentucky State vs. Savannah State
HBCU Gameday will actively track all of this activity surrounding HBCU football and bring frequent updates as to the status of Hurricane Ian, which is expected to rapidly strengthen into a major hurricane.