Hurricane preparedness is essential during hurricane season, especially if you live near the beach. Whether you're a coastal resident or a visitor on vacation, you should have a hurricane plan.
Between June and November, we beach dwellers keep a sharp eye on the tropics, and for good reason. During this time, storms brew in the warm Caribbean waters and those storms can make their way northward and cause havoc to our lives. Creating a plan of what to do in case of an emergency can save lives and property.
First, know your evacuation routes, especially if you are right out on the beach, and get out early if the storm is headed our way. Remember, the other million or so people on the coast want to leave too and there are only a few bridges over the waterway for everyone to cross.
Most of the Grand Strand is one long stretch of beach bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, with a few rivers flowing down from the north as well. This essentially makes us one long barrier island, but there are also several other barrier islands including Pawleys Island and the Brunswick Islands that you can only get on or off by one or two bridges.
In an evacuation, everyone is heading off the beach at the same time on the same roads, going in the same direction - away! Imagine going north on Highway 501 at 5 o'clock ... on July 4th weekend ... with bikers in town ... after a Taylor Swift concert.
Hurricane evacuation is a lot worse.
So, here's some free advice:
Get cash. When the electricity goes out, ATMs and credit card machines don’t work.
Fill your gas tank in your car as soon as there is a hurricane warning for the area. Gas is one of those things that runs out fast when everyone wants it and you don’t want to run out of gas on the road, or on a bridge. Once you get out of the coastal areas, traffic clears and you’ll be able to travel faster. If you wait to evacuate, you’ll be sitting in miles of traffic along with everyone else who waited.
Above all KEEP YOUR COOL and follow the rules. Hurricane preparedness is all about - well - being prepared.
A hurricane list is essential and there are several good ones out there. Here’s my compilation from personal experience and from NOAA.
Obviously, you can add or subtract from the list according to your personal needs and preferences, but the most important thing is to have a workable and effective emergency preparedness hurricane plan, and stockpile these items at the beginning of hurricane season.
If you decide you need to evacuate, or if there is a mandatory evacuation, be sure and take these items with you.
See these websites for important hurricane information.
South Carolina Emergency Management Division - You can download a free copy of the South Carolina Hurricane Guide.
Whether you "ride out the storm" or head for the hills, remember that the most important thing is to be safe. Have the hurricane party later.
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