College Football Weather Report: How Hurricane Ian Will Impact NC State vs. Clemson, Virginia vs. Duke, More Week 5 Game Totals

College Football Weather Report: How Hurricane Ian Will Impact NC State vs. Clemson, Virginia vs. Duke, More Week 5 Game Totals article feature image

NOAA via Getty Images. Pictured: Hurricane Ian.

Hurricane Ian has already struck Florida with devastating impact in the Sunshine State, especially on the western Gulf Coast. Multiple college football games have been canceled or rescheduled for a different time or location as a result of the storm.

Ian is headed into the Atlantic Ocean in northeast Florida on Thursday before an expected second landfall in coastal South Carolina as a tropical storm on Friday afternoon or evening.

As Ian makes its way inland and weakens, the weather forecasting models are getting a clearer picture of what the storm may look like by Saturday. The storm’s quick weakening suggests the games will not be impacted nearly as much as the previous outlook earlier in the week projected.

Here’s a weather primer on what to expect across the board in the games that could be impacted by Ian.

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NC State at Clemson

Saturday, Oct. 1 · 7:30 p.m. ET

The biggest college football game of the weekend may see some minor impacts to College GameDay in the morning or potential issues around the area with just how much rain will hit Clemson on Friday as Ian comes onshore.

However, most models have the storm’s center — or what’s left of it by then — to the north of Clemson by 8 a.m. ET Saturday. Given that most of the heavy rain bands and the majority of the precipitation are on the northern and northeastern side of Ian, we should not expect any rain impacts during the game on Saturday.

Heavy winds are caused by large differences in pressure, and that’s why it’s important to note just how much weaker Ian will be by Saturday.

The GFS model has Ian at 1004 mb by Saturday morning, which is incomparably weaker than its current state. That will dial back the wind impacts from the storm greatly, especially as the storm pulls away.

Photo Credit: Tropical Tidbits.

Virginia Tech at North Carolina

Saturday, Oct. 1 · 3:30 p.m. ET

Virginia at Duke

Saturday, Oct. 1 · 7:30 p.m. ET

Given that UNC and Duke’s campuses are within close proximity of one another, it’s fair to assume the forecast will be similar for both games.

The total in the VT-UNC game dropped from an open of 58 to the current consensus line of 51. I strongly disagree with this movement given the modeled weather projections on Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill.

I already wrote above about the declining wind concern from the storm. When Ian is just offshore at 982 mb, it can pack a serious wind punch. But with rapid weakening, the wind just isn’t going to be a real issue after further investigation.

The total for Virginia-Duke dropped from 57 at the open all the way to 49, and this is also an overreaction to the storm. There could be a heavy shower.

Photo Credit: Tropical Tidbits.

Here you can see the strong wind punch that Ian will pack on Friday when it makes landfall. By Saturday, the storm is a disorganized mess.

Photo Credit: Tropical Tidbits.

There could still be an occasional rain threat to the Chapel Hill/Durham area, but I don't see wind making much of an impact on the games being played in the Carolinas on Saturday.

I’d expect occasional gusts, but nothing sustained over 10 MPH.

Georgia Southern at Coastal Carolina

Saturday, Oct. 1 · 4 p.m. ET

Coastal Carolina is in a more unique situation because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean in Conway, South Carolina.

Even though Ian will likely make landfall well to the south, Coastal’s campus is positioned to the north of the storm’s eye. The coast will be under immense pressure from storm surge due to the onshore wind flow for hours as Ian approaches land.

Most of that damage will happen on Friday, and it’s not clear how well the field will hold up under heavy, heavy rainfall on Friday. Some model projections have 3-5” of rain falling in Conway on top of the storm surge.

As for the actual game conditions, I don’t see any impacts from the storm at all. It all comes down to how well the field drains from the day before.

Texas State at James Madison

Saturday, Oct. 1 · 1:30 p.m. ET

The biggest question is what happens to the rain bands on the northern end of Ian as the storm rapidly weakens. The long-range, large-scale models don’t tend to pick this up well, and the short-range, more-detailed weather models aren’t quite as accurate this far out as of writing on Wednesday evening.

It’s too early to say what the impacts will be for James Madison's home game on Saturday in Harrisonburg.

This area is probably under the most wind threat of all of the games because the bands are harder to predict. There will likely be thunderstorms and potential heavy rain scattered throughout the mid-Atlantic, but history suggests that a rapidly weakened tropical storm will not pack a consistent punch.

Instead, expect more sporadic heavy rains that could potentially impact this game. The total has dropped from 55 to 50.5 in the current market, and that’s probably still an overreaction.

Conclusion on Hurricane Ian's Week 5 Impact

Almost all of the totals rapidly dropped on Monday after the openers came out due to potential rain and wind. Most of them are now likely too low given the lack of evidence for bad weather during the games on Saturday.

As horrifying as Ian has been for the residents of Florida and will continue to be in the Carolinas on Friday, don’t expect much of Ian to be left by Saturday. Models have converged on rapid weakening and deintensifying.

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