Florida State University now gets to have its college football season opener at home, thanks to Hurricane Dorian.
Saturday’s game between FSU and Boise State will now be played in Tallahassee at noon, city officials announced Thursday. The game was originally scheduled to take place in Jacksonville at 7 p.m. ET.
Mayor Lenny Curry called it a “difficult decision” in a news conference, saying that he decided on the move after consulting with university leaders and public safety officials.
“This decision was based solely on the safety of our citizens and people that may be traveling to our city,” Curry told reporters.
Curry said that 45,000 tickets were sold, and more than 30,000 people were expected to come to Jacksonville from out of town. Having the game in Jacksonville would put “too many lives at risk,” he said.
Though Hurricane Dorian is still about four days out from its expected landfall along Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the center could pause at sea before it hits. That means lots of rain, according to CNN meteorologist Chad Myers.
Jacksonville or counties further south might preemptively issue evacuation orders this weekend, prompting people to pile in their cars and head north on the interstate highways. Having an additional tens of thousands of people Jacksonville was sure to be a recipe for disaster.
“It’s not about a weather event on Saturday,” Curry said. “It’s about making sure that we are prepared to be able to evacuate or handle evacuations that are happening on Saturday and potentially Sunday,” he told reporters.