Hurricane threatens Delaware

 

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DOVER — The First State is bracing for a fierce storm. Hurricane Joaquin, which the National Weather Service announced at 8 a.m. had been upgraded from a tropical storm, could soak Delaware this weekend, bringing with it serious wind and disrupting Dover’s NASCAR races and other weekend plans.

Currently near the Bahamas, the storm could take a number of different paths, some of which would have it passing right over Delaware. The NWS expects it to move up near the East Coast over the ensuing days, with winds between 73 and 110 miles per hour.

While the chance of rain for today is less than 50 percent, precipitation appears to be a near certainty for Friday, and the state could receive  7 inches of rain over the next five days, the NWS predicts.

Overnight Tuesday into Wednesday in a band of storms unrelated to Joaquin, Dover received 1.43 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

Delaware and much of the surrounding area has a hazardous weather outlook currently. Flood warnings have been issued in some coastal spots by the NWS, although none of them are in Delaware at this point.

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The NWS urges people to “have a plan in place should Joaquin threaten their area.”

The weather is also wreaking havoc on planned events for this weekend. The NASCAR races scheduled for Friday through Sunday are in jeopardy as a a result of the storm.

While a final determination will not be made by NASCAR and Dover International Speedway until the day of each event, postponement is a possibility. If a race cannot be run, a future date could be set, although track spokesman Gary Camp said he did not know when that might be.

At this point, track officials remain optimistic, Mr. Camp said.

He urged attendees to check online at http://www.doverspeedway.com/news_content/dover-weather-updates/.

The Web page also suggests fans follow the speedway on Facebook or Twitter or download its app for updates.

An update was posted Tuesday evening in which the track stated “As of now, we are full steam ahead with our plans for the upcoming race weekend, and we will update you here if changes must be made to the schedule as a result of the weather.”

In the comments below, many people have protested, calling for NASCAR to cancel Sunday’s AAA 400 ahead of time in anticipation of the storm.

“Just my opinion but fans get screwed over if you wait till the last minute to postpone the race,” one fan wrote. “It’s a large expense to get there and may not be able to find accommodations to stay over. I really hope NASCAR doesn’t just try to squeeze in a 200 lap race through rain delays without any practice sessions.”

The rain could move or cancel other sporting events as well. Delaware State University hosts Morgan State in football Saturday at 2.

“We’re having discussion about this today, but we haven’t reached that point yet,” DSU spokesman Carlos Holmes said Wednesday morning.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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