Exclusive report from the News Writing staff

2017 South Carolina Hurricane Guide


By Javona Pringle
News Writing Staff

Students in a news writing class were looking for answers Thursday to what the USC Upstate administration was doing to prepare the campus for Hurricane Irma.

One of the most powerful storms recorded in Atlantic history is projected to pass near upstate, just west of Spartanburg’s border late Monday, according to Thursday reports. Irma as a tropic storm is expected to bring 45-plus miles per hour winds with the threat of tornadoes and heavy rain, according to a report.

That could result in downed trees and power lines and threatens to cut off students from power sources. Some flooding could occur at low-lying areas near apartments.

Director of Communications, Carolyn Farr-Shanesy held a news briefing with the students and answered questions but said the administration was still studying options.

Here’s what our class learned Thursday in an exclusive report.


SpartAlert logo

SpartAlert will email, text updates

By Alex Elsey
News Writing Staff

Students are concerned that Hurricane Irma will affect communications for their technological devices and access to campus Wi-Fi.

Students who are connected to SpartAlert Emergency Notification System will receive email and text notifications about any critical situation on USC Upstate’s campus, Carolyn Farr-Shanesy said.

The campus Wi-Fi may become unavailable and Shanesy said SpartAlert will notify students if internet connection becomes unreliable during the storm.

Students should prepare for disruptions by making sure they have a phone charger/car charger in case of needing emergency contact. Ideally, students would want to make sure that they have a car charger in case of a power outage.

Zello is a free push-to-talk application for smartphones, tablets and PCs. The app has reportedly become more popular as a result of Hurricane Harvey limiting communication in Houston.

Students should also prepare for a power outage by getting candles and even crayons as a replacement.


Spartanburg Marriott

Lodging in the upstate is booked through Wednesday

By Javona Pringle
News Writing Staff

There are no rooms available in Spartanburg County, according to the Spartanburg Visitors Bureau (SVB). Rooms are already booked for the weekend and possible extended stays.

“We have received information that most of these bookings are hurricane related with people coming from Florida,” a SVB spokesman said.


Pets rescued during Hurricane Harvey

Pet shelters already overflowing from Hurricane Harvey

By Sandra Aboulhosn
News Writing Staff

It is important to also take precaution for your pets and know that they to need to stay safe. If you have an outside dog, move them inside. If you have an outside dog and can no longer keep him inside, resort to a foster but not a shelter.

The shelters in the upstate are at capacity due to Hurricane Harvey’s destructive path in Texas last week.

There was an overwhelming amount of transports from the SPCA and Best Friend Pet Adoption agency in the Spartanburg/Greenville area.

This is bad timing with two destructive hurricanes back-to-back, but it is important to care for our pets. These animals can’t just get up and evacuate like people, so we need to be their voice and provide them protection.


Gas becomes a premium in Hurricanes

Influx of out-of-state travelers puts strain on gas supplies

By Darius Wilkins
News Writing Staff

As Hurricane Irma quickly approaches the Southeast, many question how the storm may affect gas prices and if there will be enough fuel to supply people.

Florida is facing gas shortages from Miami to Gainesville. Florida law enforcement was reportedly escorting some fuel trucks to their destination.

“Nearly one in three gas stations in West Palm Beach–Fort Pierce, Fort Myers–Naples and Tampa–St. Petersburg is depleted,” according to ABC News via

While still in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, gas prices remain higher than normal, which should be alarming knowing Hurricane Irma is knocking at our door. South Carolina’s average price Thursday for a gallon of unleaded gas was $2.52 – the highest in three years, according to and AAA Carolinas.

High school football and Auburn playing Clemson Saturday will put an extra burden on supplies.

The recommendation is to get the gas you need now and to avoid last-minute refueling and risk stations running out.


UPDATE: South Carolina Emergency Management Division reported there were 27,000 extra vehicles on interstate highways on Thursday. SCEMD reported there were 67,000 extra vehicles on the highways Friday. Most traffic was reported on I-95 and I-26.

SpartAlert notification – Thursday, 5:30 p.m.

USC Upstate will continue to monitor the threat of Hurricane Irma over the weekend. While we do not expect to close the campus, IF there are any delays or closures, the University will notify the campus community as soon as possible.

As a state agency, the University follows the delay and closing determinations of Spartanburg County government. University officials will continue to consult with state and local officials and any updates on potential cancellations or closings will be communicated by email to your USC Upstate inbox, the USC Upstate website, social media feeds (Facebook and Twitter). If you have not done so, please be sure to sign up for SpartAlert, so that you may receive messages via text alert.

How are we preparing?

· We are working closely with local and state emergency management officials to monitor the latest weather information.

· We are preparing our supplies and communications systems to respond should we be in the path of the storm.

· We are prepared to feed students, as well as essential faculty and staff, through our dining and food services.

· We are developing staffing plans to provide for safety in the event of loss of power.

· We will post information here, but the primary means of emergency communication will be through SpartAlert.

Visit our inclement weather page for additional information.