This is my fourth year at the University of South Carolina and fourth fall semester getting classes canceled due to flooding, more or less caused by a hurricane.
Email from President Pastides to students in regards to Hurricane Florence.Claudia Crowe
My freshman year was the 1,000-year flood. Hurricane Joaquin never directly hit the United States, but another storm over the Southeastern states drew moisture from the hurricane resulting in catastrophic flooding in South Carolina.
My dorm lost power and water. Porter potties had to be brought in and placed outside all dorms, water had to be supplied to be able to bathe, drink, "cook" and brush teeth. Classes were canceled for more than a week. I had to stay at a member of my church's family's house with a group of other girls to have basic amenities, then eventually went home to York, SC for a few days.
Hurricane Matthew was a category 5 hurricane which impacted Florida and Georgia but caused torrential rain showers in the Carolinas and Virginia. At least 600,000 individuals lost power in South Carolina. Campus was closed because of the flooding and my apartment lost power for a couple hours. Additionally, College of Charleston students took refuge on USC's campus.
Hurricane Irma was another category 5 hurricane that caused bad flooding in Columbia, making campus close and classes to be canceled. Again, my apartment lost power for a little while.
And now in 2018, Hurricane Florence has a direct path hitting Columbia, SC.
The common theme of these hurricanes affecting Columbia, SC, is the amount of rainfall leading to dangerous flooding. The flooding then does the majority of damage causing power outages, car accidents with traffic lights being down, sewage pipes bursting and leaking into the water supply, and destroying homes. The lowest impact of flooding is getting trapped in your home with no way to get food and supplies.
Each of my college years, I have faced Columbia flooding and having to be prepared to evacuate. I've lost power countless times and gone without a fresh water supply (except for pre-packaged water bottles).
Flooding is a serious issue in Columbia and we are never prepared, at least enough. Classes are always canceled last minute. Traffic accumulates with everyone evacuating, from the coast as well, and from interstates being reversed. Columbia floods way too easy to not be prepared for hurricane season. Numerous times I've been on campus in downtown Columbia having to walk in ankle water from a casual afternoon thunderstorm.
Last minute class cancellation doesn't allow students to leave in a timely fashion before the hurricane hits, the flooding or storm begins, etc. since they are afraid they must still attend classes for the week. Out of state students are the ones who first begin to worry if they'll be able to make it home in time.
Many must make a long drive across multiple state lines or find flights, which can be hard with a hurricane approaching. Evacuating takes preparation as one cannot just leave. Furthermore, students, especially out of state, will be the safest away from Columbia since it is located in low lying ground and tends to flood fairly easily.
Flooding in Columbia, SC, is a serious issue and more precautions should be put in place to protect students attending USC. Campus closure should be considered at an appropriate time to allow students to travel safely home.
It floods here every year and the city is still underprepared.