UNC to Open 'Mass Shelter' for People Displaced By Hurricane Florence | News

UNC to Open 'Mass Shelter' for People Displaced By Hurricane Florence


  • National Weather Service
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will open a shelter on its campus "for people in existing shelters that have lost power and are now closed," the university announced on Friday.

University spokesperson Jeni Cook says the shelter, expected to open sometime today at the Friday Center, will not be open to the general public, just those in existing shelter facilities that need to be moved. People in the area who need shelter can go to two facilities in Orange County:

Smith Middle School, 9201 Seawell School Rd, Chapel Hill.
CW Stanford Middle School, 308 Orange High School Rd, Hillsborough.

Pets are allowed at those facilities with vaccination records and a photo of you with your pet.

UNC officials have not said what time the Friday Center shelter will open, or what the capacity will be. In a Friday evening briefing, Governor Roy Cooper called it a "mass shelter" and emergency management director Mike Sprayberry said it will be able to hold "several hundred" people.

On Friday night, about twenty thousand people were staying in 157 shelters across in the state, Cooper said. More than 800,000 customers across the state were without power this morning, as Florence continues to dump heavy rain on the coast and Southeastern North Carolina expected to cause major inland flooding.

About one thousand people had sought refuge at Wake County shelters this week, prompting officials there to set up three more facilities to accommodate coastal evacuees.

Spokesperson Dara Demi said Saturday morning all six shelters remained open.

"We do not know exactly when they will close at this time," Demi said in an email to the INDY. " We're currently having conversations with state and local partners to begin evaluating possible timelines. A lot depends on what Florence does over the next 24-48 hours."

Demi said several of the facilities had lost power, but "were not in the dark for more than a second or two" before generators kicked on.

On Saturday morning, one of two Durham shelters, at the Bahama Ruritan Club was closed. Spokesperson Amy Blalock said the facility had zero guests. Blalock said neither shelter had lost power.

A second shelter at Hillside High School in Durham shelter will close on Sunday at 2 p.m.

"The shelter staff at Hillside are now working with the residents there to help them with further accommodations if they don't wish to return to their homes after 2 p.m. tomorrow," Blalock said. As of Saturday afternoon, there were twenty-nine people at that shelter.

Additional updates will be shared on AlertDurham.com and via @AlertDurham social media pages.

Update as of 1:30 p.m. Saturday: The Stanford Middle School shelter has closed. The Smith Middle School shelter will close at noon Sunday. 

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