FAMU and Jackson State have a date in Miami, but Hurricane Idalia seems intent on having her say as well.
It began churning in the Caribbean almost a week ago. For two days it was a tropical storm, but as of around 5:00AM (EST) on Tuesday, the weather disturbance is now classified as Hurricane Idalia. The path of the storm is being tracked squarely through Florida’s “Big Bend.” The Big Bend is where the layout of Florida takes nearly a 90-degree westerly turn, resembling a boomerang or a firearm.
Idalia is expected to grow in strength in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The temperatures in the water are in the high 80s, meaning it will become fuel for the hurricane to rapidly intensify. Meteorologists looking at the data believe the tropical cyclone will reach Category 3, which is wind speeds from about 111-129 miles-per-hour (mph). Currently the storm has attained wind speeds of 74-95 mph.
Category Three hurricanes have the ability to damage well-built homes. More importantly, water and electrical services could be unavailable for several days. Along with the wind damage, storm surge, which is the water that washes ashore and rising bodies of water, actually do just as much or more damage.
By all accounts, Idalia will be out of Florida on Wednesday night. Behind it, if it goes the expected path and crosses Florida northeasterly on its way to the Atlantic ocean, it will leave a path attendees of the Orange Blossom Classic might have to navigate. Fortunately, with the game being on Sunday, Florida is well versed in cleanup and restoration after a storm. Utility trucks, gasoline and supplies have already been staged throughout Florida and a quick response is imminent with the state of emergency declared by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
For FAMU fans, those in south Florida and the easterly coast will be spared if the projected path is followed. Those on the west and north sides of Florida are bracing for the impact. With Florida’s reputation for rapid response after a hurricane, travel through out Florida isn’t expected to be an issue. FAMU’s campus has been declared closed on Wednesday with the school waiting on clearance from risk management for its reopening date.
Jackson State fans traveling east through Florida and then south, they will endure the longest path of the possible destruction in Florida. Entering Florida near Pensacola and driving east on I-10 would require navigation through an area where the storm has crossed the state. Reiterating that Florida is used to post-hurricane restoration, highway travel on I-10, I-95 nor the Florida Turnpike is not expected to be impeded for any substantial length of time.
With the game being four days after the passing of the storm, even if it reaches Category Three, Florida should for all practical purposes be open for business. Weather in Miami Gardens is expected include a possibility of rain. The chances of rain are 37-percent. Temperatures are expected to be a high of 88 degrees with a low of 78 degrees. Thunderstorms are possible with winds predicted to be 13 mph in a northeasterly direction.
Hurricane Idalia could impact other HBCU games as well
Albany State vs Wingate
The Albany State Golden Rams are set to open the season on Thursday in Wingate, NC facing the Wingate Bulldogs. The center of hurricane Idalia is expected to be over North Carolina on Thursday, though it is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm by that time, with winds sustained at 60 mph.