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UNC-Wilmington Orders Mandatory Evacuation as Storm Approaches

[Updated (10/5/2016, 12:28 p.m.) with reports of additional preparations in the Southeastern United States.]

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington announced on Tuesday afternoon that all 15,000 of its students would be required to evacuate the coastal campus by midday on Thursday as Hurricane Matthew, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in years, approaches from the south.

The university said all classes, events, and activities scheduled for after 5 p.m. on Wednesday would be canceled “until further notice,” and it offered help to students who do not have a place to stay.

The storm passed over Haiti on Tuesday, leaving a path of destruction, and was reaching Cuba on Tuesday night, according to reports by ABC and NBC News. At least eight deaths have been attributed to the storm in South America and the Caribbean, and the toll is expected to rise.

With forecasters predicting that Matthew could reach Florida by Thursday morning and possibly linger off the southeastern coast, governors in four states — Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina — declared emergencies on Tuesday for all or parts of their states, and many colleges and universities in the region were already canceling classes or making contingency plans.

The University of South Carolina announced on Tuesday afternoon that its main campus in Columbia, more than 100 miles inland, would be closed on Wednesday, with all classes canceled. The university said it anticipated remaining closed for the remainder of the week. The region experienced catastrophic flooding a year ago in the wake of historic rains.

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