Five to seven days before a hurricane makes landfall:
- Notify friends and family of where you will go if you need to evacuate. Identify both a local and an out-of-town friend or relative that your family members can call in case they become separated from you during or after the disaster.
- Use up excess food in your refrigerator and freezer. Check your homeowner’s policy to see if it covers your freezer contents in the event of a power outage.
- Decide ahead of time what personal belongings and valuables you will take with you for an evacuation. Know that it might be weeks before you can return safely, so pack accordingly.
- Make hotel reservations in the event that you have to evacuate. Residents in our area will be routed toward North Augusta and Aiken County. Make sure the hotel or motel you choose is beyond the evacuated area and has a back-up generator in the event of a power outage.
- Don’t let the gas in your car drop below 3⁄4 of a tank. Be prepared to evacuate by backing your car into the garage or parking it in an open space facing the direction of your escape. Shut car doors and roll up the windows. You may want to bring a spare car key with you.
- Close garage windows and doors, but leave them unlocked. Disconnect the automatic garage door opener.
- Be sure to have cash on hand, at least enough to purchase gas and food while away from home. In the event of a power failure, ATMs and credit card machines won’t work.
Listen to the local weather updates. Here are some sources of information:
- Local Live5 weather
- NOAA’s National Hurricane Center
- National Weather Service, which provides impact graphics, storm surge height, storm warnings and watches
- South Carolina Emergency Management Division, which provides lists of resources plus weather alerts
- WEZL 103.5 radio, WIWF 96.9 radio and ETVradio 89.3 radio, which are participants in the nationwide Emergency Alert System
- Tidelines, which will provide updates on email and our Twitter account (TidelinesAlert) as we are able, but check the above sources of information as well.
Be aware that the Weather Channel will not have the same level of local reporting that the sources above will have. Also, keep in mind that the Limehouse Bridge is closed when the winds reach 40 mph or greater, so evacuate before that happens or you will be stranded on the island riding out the storm.
- If you receive Tidelines e-mail notifications once a week, please change your settings to receive the e-mail posts as they are published. You can manage the frequency with which you receive notifications by clicking on “Manage Subscriptions” at the bottom of the post you receive in your email and then by clicking on “Settings” and changing the delivery frequency to Immediate.
- Add TidelinesAlert to your Twitter account.
- Bookmark on your laptop and add to your cell phone the Berkeley Electric Cooperative, Inc., website so that you will be able to see where there are electrical outages. Click here.
- Add the Town of Seabrook Island’s website, Twitter feed (@seabrookislnd87), and the Town’s emergency number, 888-314-3177, to your computer and cell phone.
- Gather your supplies together. Check over everything and make sure flashlights work, you have sufficient food that has not passed its expiration date, have sufficient bottled water, etc.
- Prepare your pet’s emergency supply kit.
During a Hurricane Watch, the storm will usually make landfall within 36 hours.
- Bring in unsecured items (outdoor furniture, grill, bird feeders) – anything that could become a projectile.
- Cover windows and glass doors; move furnishings away from windows.
A Hurricane Warning is issued when the storm is expected to make landfall within 24 hours.
- If told to evacuate, secure your home and leave immediately, turning off the main power switch, water to your home, and the propane at the gas tank before you leave.
- Remember: The Limehouse Bridge is closed when the winds reach 40 mph or greater, so evacuate before that happens or you will be stranded on the island riding out the storm.
- If you are not advised to evacuate, remain indoors away from windows.
- Do not post on social media that you are leaving since this is an invitation to a home intruder.
As the hurricane approaches, remember the category level is not the only factor in evacuation preparation, but the more important factor is the potential for flooding.
Remember, be prepared; stay safe.
(Image credit: NASA.gov/edu)