UPDATE: Tropical Storm Erika dissipates, state of emergency still in effect.

Christian Ayers

Image courtesy National Weather Service
Image courtesy National Weather Service

UPDATE – 8/29/15 at 2:42 p.m.

Tropical Storm Erika has weakened and all watches and warnings related to the system were discontinued as of 9:30 a.m. on Aug 29, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm continues to produce 35 mph maximum wind gusts, but is not expected to threaten the southeast.

At a press conference this morning, Governor Rick Scott urged Floridians to remain vigilant and prepare for the worst. The governor has yet to lift the state of emergency issued yesterday.

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UPDATE – 8/28/15 at 5:15 p.m.

The UNF Crisis Response Team met today to evaluate Tropical Storm Erika. As of right now, all classes and campus activities are scheduled to continue. However, UNF will still be preparing for the possibility of disruption.

According to an email with Sharon Ashton, UNF Vice President of Public Relations and member of the Crisis Management Team (CMT), UNF employees have already prepared for the storm by gassing up generators, clearing rooftops of debris, unclogging storm drains and notifying contractors that all construction equipment needs to be secured.

The CMT expects any impact from the storm to occur late on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the meantime, the CMT will be monitoring the situation and reconvening on Monday to evaluate the situation.

In the event that the storm threatens UNF or campus activities, the Crisis Management Team will send out updates “via e-mails, text messages, phone messages, information posted on UNF’s homepage, myWings and Blackboard as well was UNF’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts.”

Earlier today, UNF posted the following update on Facebook:

“The UNF Crisis Management Team is monitoring Erika as the storm makes its way through the Caribbean toward Florida. At this time, classes, business operations and events are all operating on a normal schedule. If UNF is threatened by the storm, the Crisis Management Team will send out updates via e-mails, text messages, phone messages, information posted on UNF’s homepage, myWings and Blackboard as well was UNF’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts.”

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UPDATE – 8/28/15 at 12:05 p.m.

At least 12 people have been confirmed dead in the Caribbean in the wake of the storm, which prompted Florida Governor Rick Scott to declare a state of emergency on Aug. 28. 

In an email, UNF Vice President for Public Relations Sharon Ashton said the university’s Crisis Management Team is monitoring the storm’s activity.

“Physical Facilities is doing the usual preparation for the possibility of high winds and flooding by cleaning out the drains and making plans to store outdoor furniture,” Ashton said.

The Crisis Management Team will meet Aug. 28 as more information comes in about Erika’s projected path.

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Tropical Storm Erika churned into the Caribbean islands around 2 p.m. on Aug. 27. The National Weather Service predicted the storm’s path could impact Florida, and it may become a hurricane before reaching North Florida on Sept. 1.

Erika has sustained 30 mph winds, with gusts reaching 45 mph, according to NWS’s projection. The storm system has been moving west at 16 mph.

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and storm watch alerts were announced in the Dominican Republic and Bahamas.

Spinnaker will update with more information on Tropical Storm Erika as it moves through the weekend. 

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