States of emergency and emergency closures, explained

Though the forecast for Hurricane Irma is still in flux, it is all but certain that South Carolina will be directly impacted. 

In preparation, Gov. Henry McMaster has issued a state of emergency declaration, with many asking what exactly this declaration does. On campus, many are anxiously waiting to find out whether USC will have to close due to the storm.

As you wait, read up on exactly how the state is preparing and how the university makes its closure decisions.

What is a state of emergency?

Although the direct impacts of Irma are still days away, the state of South Carolina has been under a state of emergency since Wednesday.

A state of emergency declaration, issued by the governor, allows state agencies to begin official preparations for disaster management. McMaster's order specifically put in action the state's "Emergency Operations Plan" and activated units of the South Carolina National Guard. 

The declaration also puts in place laws against price gouging — when stores artificially inflate the cost of things like gas and water during emergencies.

Florida, Georgia and North Carolina are also under states of emergency due to the impending arrival of Irma.

Will campus close?

USC students should keep an eye on the closure and delay decisions of Richland County Government. The university is a state agency and therefore follows the decisions of the county.

Beverly Harris, director of public information for Richland County Government, explained that county officials including the county administrator, county council, emergency services and other localities come together to make closure decisions.

"Because each emergency is different, the factors that must be considered also are different," she wrote in an email to The Daily Gamecock.

Richland County officials will meet Thursday afternoon for further discussions regarding Hurricane Irma, according to The State. In the meantime, the university advises students to make sure they're subscribed to Carolina Alerts in order to receive updates. 

Gamecock women's soccer has already cancelled its weekend home game. The game was against Jacksonville, which is also expected to be impacted by Irma.

Other South Carolina schools including the College of Charleston, Claflin University, The Citadel and South Carolina State have already closures.

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