South Carolina emergency management officials urge early planning for hurricane season

With hurricane season just a month away, it is crucial for residents of South Carolina to start preparing for potential storms, according to state emergency management officials.

Governor Henry McMaster has officially designated the month of May as hurricane preparedness month. This proactive approach aims to provide residents, businesses, and communities with ample time to prepare for the potential dangers associated with hurricanes and tropical systems in the state.

“Seize the day while you still have the chance.”

In preparation for the upcoming storm season, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) advises individuals to take advantage of the month of May to review and complete long-term storm preparations. It is recommended to refresh your hurricane kit by replacing batteries, restocking flashlights, and ensuring an adequate supply of non-perishable food items. Additionally, it is important to update your emergency plans, including identifying safe locations to evacuate to in the event of an evacuation order.

Evacuation routes in South Carolina are organized according to zones in coastal counties. It is essential for coastal residents to be aware of their designated evacuation location in the event of an evacuation order issued by the governor’s office. If instructed to evacuate, it is crucial to follow the blue hurricane evacuation signs rather than relying on GPS navigation.

Emergency management leaders emphasize the importance of taking proactive measures to ensure the safety of homes during hurricanes or tropical storms. Conducting a thorough safety check is crucial to ensure that the house can withstand the potential impact of such severe weather conditions.

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It is highly recommended by officials to schedule a roof inspection, ensure that hurricane shutters are in place, and review insurance policies to verify coverage for the different types of damage that can be caused by a hurricane.

Don’t forget to capture images of your possessions and create a comprehensive inventory for your personal records.

According to leaders at the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD), the state is highly susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms. With six coastal counties that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean and more than 200 miles of coastline, South Carolina faces a significant risk. The densely populated coastal areas, especially during peak tourist seasons, coupled with the relatively low elevations, pose a considerable threat to the safety of the state.

Hurricanes and storm damage can occur beyond the coastal regions. According to SCEMD, tropical storms have the capacity to inflict harm in all parts of the state. The most perilous and devastating hazards associated with these tropical systems are storm surge and flooding.

Severe damage to buildings and homes far inland can be caused by high winds and tornadoes.

South Carolina has experienced the impact of six hurricanes since 2016, including Matthew, Irma in 2017, Florence in 2018, Dorian in 2019, Ian in 2022, and Idalia in 2023.

According to the latest pre-season forecast from hurricane researchers at Colorado State University, the Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be exceptionally active. The forecast predicts a total of 23 named storms, with 11 of them becoming hurricanes and five of those reaching major hurricane status.

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Last year, there were a total of 20 named storms, including seven hurricanes and five major hurricanes. This marks an increase from the previous year.

The season starts on June 1st and continues until the end of November.

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