A message to the Carolina family to stay safe

Dear students,

As you know, in light of the shifting forecast and possible path of Hurricane Florence, we have canceled classes through Saturday, Sept. 15 along with the football game versus Marshall that was scheduled for Saturday evening. It is important to note that despite the possible course of the hurricane and the potential for severe weather, Columbia remains outside of the evacuation zone and the community is serving as an inland host to those leaving coastal areas. While many of you will choose to leave Columbia, I know some of you will remain. So, I want to reassure you that we are making preparations to safely house and feed those who choose to remain, as well as maintain some campus activities and essential services like the student health center and dining facilities.

If you choose to leave Columbia, please check out with a Resident Mentor if you live on campus. Also, please closely monitor local weather forecasts and exercise extreme caution on the roads. Current forecasts indicate that Saturday and Sunday are likely to be the most impactful days for the Midlands area. However, rain is likely to begin before then so plan accordingly.

For those choosing to stay, you too should closely monitor local weather forecasts and pay close attention to the Carolina Alert system. If you have not signed up for Carolina Alerts, now is the time to do so. It will notify you via text of severe weather conditions should they develop in the area. Your parents can also be added to your Carolina Alert account.

Some areas of Columbia are particularly susceptible to flash flooding during heavy rains. Never walk through moving water and do not drive in flooded areas. In order to help prepare for the potential of flooding, we are opening the Blossom, Senate and Bull Street parking garages as well as the metered spaces in the Pendleton parking garage so students can move their cars from surface lots before the rain begins.

Finally, for those of you that live off campus and will stay, please use the next two days to prepare. Some things you may want to have on-hand include:

  • Non-perishable food and snacks, bottled water, juice and soft drinks 
  • Flashlight with batteries 
  • Backup battery for cell phones - make sure it's charged 
  • Contacts and eyeglasses 
  • Prescription medicines (if there's a power outage, bring medications that require refrigeration to the Center for Health and Well-Being)
  • Cash 
  • Legal ID 

We will remain in constant communication with city, county and state officials and put appropriate plans into place.

Decisions for classes next week will be made in coordination with state officials and based on weather conditions. As you know, Governor McMaster has closed schools and state agencies in this county by executive order until further notice. Also, as a state agency, the university follows the delay and closing determinations of Richland County government. University officials will continue to consult with state and local officials and any updates on potential cancellations or closings will be posted on sc.edu/weathersocial media and Carolina Alert.

We've been through severe weather before and working together we will be prepared for Hurricane Florence as well.

Stay safe Gamecocks!