The Carolina Panthers have made contingency plans in the event the effects of Hurricane Joaquin force them to leave for Tampa early this weekend.
Joaquin, upgraded to a powerful Category 4 storm on Thursday, could bring 5 to 7 of inches rain to North Carolina beginning late Thursday night.
The Panthers are scheduled to leave Charlotte on Saturday afternoon, but have discussed an earlier departure depending on the storm.
“I think (football operations manager) Bryan Porter and his people are planning ahead, trying to figure out the best solutions,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said.
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“It’s one of those things where (Friday) if something were to come up, we have to figure out the best time (to leave), whether it’s Friday evening or first thing Saturday morning. We’ve got to kind of keep our eyes peeled.”
Forecasters don’t expect Joaquin to hit Florida, although there’s a 60 percent chance of rain Sunday in Tampa.