East Coast teams prepare for possibility of Hurricane Joaquin

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hurricane Joaquin -- upgraded to a Category 4 storm -- bore down Thursday on the central and eastern Bahamas, with the storm projected to turn toward the U.S. on Friday.

Forecasters were still gathering data to determine how it might affect the East Coast, which was already suffering flooding and heavy rains from separate storms. The heaviest rain is expected in wide swaths of North Carolina and Virginia, along with parts of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey, according to a National Weather Service forecast map. The National Weather Service issued flash flood watches for Washington, D.C., northern Virginia, southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore from Friday morning through late Saturday.

Sports teams and leagues were monitoring the storm heading into the weekend's events.

  • The prime-time kickoff between home teamMarylandand No. 22Michiganhas been pushed up to noon on Saturday in hopes of avoiding inclement weather. Michigan's athletic department cited adverseweatherconditions connected to Hurricane Joaquin for the change. Flash flood watches are in effect from Friday morning until 8 p.m. Saturday night in the area around Byrd Stadium in College Park, according to AccuWeather reports.
  • Kickoff for the Nebraska-Illinois game has been moved from 3:30 p.m. to 4:02 p.m. as a result of the shifting schedule.
  • An ACC representative said the conference and its institutions are monitoring the forecast for Saturday's games but that it's still too early to know how much will be affected. The representative said every effort will be made to play the games as long as the safety of players, teams and fans is not compromised.
  • TheDukefootball team, which is scheduled to hostBoston Collegeon Saturday afternoon, began offering discounted tickets to the game. Tickets will be sold for up to 50 percent off with a 90 percent chance of rain or higher. As of Thursday morning, Accuweather.com was calling for 2 inches of rain at Duke on Friday going into Saturday, with showers continuing throughout the game.
  • NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Wednesday that the league is monitoring the situation heading into this weekend's games. The storm could most directly affect theWashington Redskins' scheduled home game against thePhiladelphia Eagleson Sunday."We're preparing to play on Sunday," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Thursday. "There's been nothing definitive in terms of what's going on. If the plans change, we'll adjust accordingly. But there's been nothing told to us."Redskins quarterbackKirk Cousinssaid he might soak the football in a bucket of water before taking snaps and throwing during practice Thursday and Friday to prepare for possible heavy rain."The best strategy is to literally dump it in a bucket," Cousins said. "It's kind of overkill, but it's probably your best option."
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency Thursday for his state because of flooding concerns, joining North Carolina and Virginia, which earlier had declared states of emergency in anticipation of the storm. Both theNew York Jets(playing Miami in London) andNew York Giants(at Buffalo) are on the road this weekend.Information from ESPN's John Keim, Joe Schad, Phil Sheridan and Darren Rovell and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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