“Be ready” was the priority message delivered by local weatherman Bill Walsh at the September 7 Exchange Club of Kiawah-Seabrook dinner meeting. Bill, Chief Meteorologist and Executive Producer for WCSC-TV CBS Charleston, has lived in the area since 1986 and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the impact of major storms on the low country. This is a very unusual year, according to Bill: there were no hurricanes in the Atlantic in August, and that hasn’t happened since 1950. And while the peak of hurricane season is September 10, there still has yet to be a significant storm in the Eastern U.S. One of the factors impacting the storm cycle is that there is a great deal of Saharan sand in the atmosphere off Africa and that’s not good for storm formation.
Bill encouraged members to “Be ready for that one storm, we’re not out of the woods yet,” since the hurricane season runs until mid-October. The water temperature is currently 84 degrees which is plenty warm to accelerate storm formation in the weeks ahead.
In terms of preparing for a large storm, Bill encouraged members to “be fluid in your preparation,” prepare for challenges with evacuation as the population growth on Johns Island will add congestion to Main and River Road evacuation routes. He also encouraged people to evacuate if a storm is coming, stating that if Hurricane Hugo had hit Edisto Beach, the storm surge would have been more than 20 feet.
Beyond broadcasting local weather each day, Bill is an author of suspense novels and is on the Board of Directors for Ronald McDonald House Charities. He’s a retired Lt. Colonel in the Air Force Reserve and a two-time Emmy Award winner.
The Exchange Club of Kiawah-Seabrook holds dinner meetings about every two weeks, providing an opportunity for fellowship and fun, along with a guest speaker discussing some aspect of life in the Lowcountry. Other activities include an annual holiday event and excursions to the Charleston Symphony throughout the year.
-Submitted by Thad Peterson for the Exchange Club of Kiawah-Seabrook