The Duke University Marine Lab, located in Beaufort, N.C., reopened on Sunday, after a four-day closure following Hurricane Dorian.
While Duke’s main campus in Durham only received brief periods of heavy rain and gusts of wind up to 30 mph, the eye of the hurricane passed within about 10 miles of the Marine Lab and brought gusts of 85 mph and rain totaling 5-10 inches.
The Marine Lab suffered relatively minor damage from the storm, with several trees down, roof shingles lost, and a few areas of rainwater intrusion in several buildings. Duke Facilities Management is working to fully assess the damage, and repair work is already underway.
Power was restored to the Marine Lab on Saturday afternoon and the Lab re-opened Sunday at noon. Residential students returned to Beaufort from Durham, where they were housed in dorms on main campus.
“We had tremendous support from our friends on main campus, who arranged housing for our residential students and offered their homes to displaced faculty and graduate students,” said Andy Read, director of the Duke Marine Lab. “Duke Facilities Management was on site immediately after the storm to assess damage and make repairs. And, as always, our team here in Beaufort made sure that the campus was prepared and our students and staff were safe. We are very fortunate - our thoughts are with those who suffered and lost so much from this storm.”
Crews in Durham were also busy before and during the storm on Thursday and Friday preparing the campus for high winds and rain. Duke Facilities inspected and cleared storm drain, fueled generators and support vehicles, and staged crews to respond quickly to the possibility of downed limbs and trees.
Duke’s emergency response also extended in ways to support other North Carolina communities affected by the hurricane. Duke Health sent a medical team to support a shelter in Clayton, N.C. and made preparations to receive patients from coastal hospitals that needed to be relocated.
“Duke’s severe weather operations team was active throughout the week to prepare for the storm,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for administration and Duke’s emergency coordinator. “Preparations were made given the potential of significant impacts. The teamwork and collaboration of dozens of dedicated staff and faculty, across the university and health system was once again simply superb.”