Oh, no. Not again. Just when you thought it was safe to stick those Miami Hurricanes flags on your car, fill it with gas, and head north on the Turnpike for this Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game against the Florida State Seminoles, Mother Nature has once again wagged her dreaded hurricane finger in the general direction of the Sunshine State.
UM and FSU were originally supposed to meet September 16, but Hurricane Irma came barreling through Florida. So the game was moved to this Saturday. Now Nate is scheduled to make landfall in the Panhandle this weekend after growing into a legit hurricane.
Whether the Canes/Noles grudge match happens this weekend is very much in doubt. Both UM and FSU issued statements last night that they're watching the storm's progress before deciding what to do about the game.
“We are monitoring the situation and in communication with FSU and the Atlantic Coast Conference office,’’ UM's athletic director Blake James told the Miami Herald.
Today's 8 a.m. advisory from NOAA did give planners a bit of hope. The storm is still projected to strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane as it blows across the Gulf of Mexico before reaching Florida early Sunday morning, but its path has shifted slightly to the west toward Louisiana.
For now, Nate is a tropical storm packing sustained 40 mph winds near the Nicaraguan coast. Forecasters expect the storm to graze the Central American coastline today and then hit the tip of the Yucatán Peninsula tomorrow and Saturday before spinning north over open waters, where Nate is expected to intensify.
Given the storm's timeline, FSU and UM officials might decide to bump game time up to avoid any impact from the storm. The likeliest scenario would be moving kickoff from 3:30 p.m. to noon so fans traveling to the game would have ample time to evacuate if the storm headed in overnight.
It's still too early to tell how Nate could affect the big matchup. So go ahead and make those pregame Jell-O shots. Either way, they won't go to waste.