For many people, a tropical storm or even a hurricane is an unknown element to deal with. As I sit at my computer awaiting the arrival of Tropical Storm Hanna (and now complete this blog after the passing of Hanna), I have had the chance to browse many of the Internet sites available and produce the information below. You will find many links to other important and useful web sites.
There is one thing in life that I have learnt and it does not matter whether you are talking about Success or Survival, the one thing that they have in common is that there is A PLAN.
So be prepared.
The information below is not necessarily all the information that you may need, nor will it be necessarily up to date or correct. You should always get your Tropical Storm and Hurricane information for yourself from an official web site or other source.
Hurricane Preparation - The Before, During, & After Plans
Hurricanes range in intensity from Category 1 to Category 5. Actual storm conditions may require changes to the planned evacuation zones and routes, etc.
Stay tuned to state and local media for specific emergency management evacuation instructions.
Contact your local emergency management office to help determine your vulnerability. Storm surge is limited to coastal areas, but hurricanes also bring high winds, tornadoes, heavy rains, and flooding to inland areas.
Basic Disaster Supplies Kit
Gather disaster supplies and create a basic supplies kit, which you can use at home or take if you evacuate. Include:
- “2008 South Carolina Hurricane Guide”
- Non-perishable food (including canned goods)
- Drinking water (minimum two quarts per person per day)
- Flashlights, extra batteries, and bulbs
- Battery-powered AM/FM or hand crank radio and NOAA weather radio with extra batteries
- First-aid kit and manual
- Non-electric can opener
- Essential medicines, including prescriptions
- Sturdy shoes
- Baby supplies (including baby food, powdered milk and diapers)
- Games and books
- Fire extinguisher
- Important documents (Passports, Social Security cards, Insurance policies (Home - Flood, Contents, etc, Car, Medical) family records, photo identification, important telephone numbers, tax records, bank information)
- Toiletries and other personal hygiene items
- Cash and credit cards
- If you need to "Back Up" your home computer to an external USB hard drive, they are easy to store and carry.
If you live in a vulnerable area, plan an evacuation route. Consider staying in a motel or with family and friends outside the vulnerable area. Learn safe routes inland and the locations of official shelters. Be ready to drive at least 20 to 50 miles inland to locate a safe place.
Before You Leave Home
- Make arrangements for pets. Pets are not allowed in official shelters. Make sure you have additional pet food and water, etc if they are traveling with you but remember they are not allowed in official shelters.
- Tidy your yard and garden - move any item that could become a potential missile or could get broken in to your garage, shed, etc.
- Fuel up family vehicles. Service them, if time allows. Check that all tires are in good condition and that you have a spare tire and it is useable.
- Turn off gas, electricity, and water.
- Stay tuned to your local television and radio stations for emergency information.
On The Road
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division has been working in partnership with the petroleum industry in an attempt to make extra fuel available at certain filling stations along major evacuation routes; once you’re on the road, tune to your radio to find out which filling stations are participating. Rest areas along I-26 will be enhanced with additional facilities to accommodate motorists efficiently. Department of Public Safety weigh stations will also be available as comfort stations. In addition to the items listed above in your Basic Disaster Supply Kit, ALSO CARRY:
- Road maps
- Jumper cables
- Tire repair kit
At The Public Shelter
Before heading to a public shelter, first consider staying with family and friends or in a motel out of the area. If those are not available, the American Red Cross will provide a safe place to stay when you have no other place to go. Cots and blankets will not be provided in the public shelter, and although food will be provided, specialty items for infants and individuals on restricted diets may not be available.
If you plan to evacuate to a shelter, you will want to carry the supplies listed above in your Basic Disaster Supplies Kit, PLUS:
- Blankets, sleeping bags, pillows and cots
Special foods, if you are on a restricted diet
- Stay tuned to your local television and radio stations for emergency information.
- Stay inside a well-constructed building away from windows and doors, even if they are covered. Go to an interior first-floor room, basement, closet, or under the stairs.
- Be alert. Tornadoes are often spawned during hurricanes.
- If the “eye” of the storm passes over your area, be aware that severe conditions will return with winds from the other direction in a very short time.
- Wait until an area is declared safe before entering.
- Roads may be closed for your protection. Do not drive in flooded areas.
- Check gas, water, electrical lines and appliances for damage.
- Avoid using candles and other open flames indoors.
- Use a flashlight to inspect damage.
- Report life-threatening emergencies only.
Building a Family Emergency Supply Kit - http://www.scemd.org/Prepare/family_kit.html
Your Family Disaster Plan - http://www.scemd.org/Prepare/family_disaster_plan.html
The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale
For more information on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale, storm surges and how the effect the South Carolina coastline, please click here - http://www.scemd.org/news/publications/2008%20hurricane%20guide/contents.html
Coastal Evacuation Zones
For more information on other areas please click here - http://www.scemd.org/news/publications/2008%20hurricane%20guide/contents.html
Evacuation Routes and Lane Reversals
Edisto Island, Adams Run...
Evacuees will take SC 174 to US 17. They will then take US 17 south to SC 64. This will take them to Walterboro, and then on to North Augusta.
Yonges Island, Meggett, Hollywood, Ravenel…
Use SC 165 to US 17, then US 17 south to SC 64.
Johns Island, Kiawah Island and Seabrook…
Evacuees will use SC 700 to Road S-20 (Bohicket Road) to US 17.
Evacuees will take US 17 south to SC 64 where they will go to Walterboro, then on to North Augusta.
James Island and Folly Beach…
Use SC 171 to US 17.
Evacuees should then travel south on US 17 to I-526 to the reversed lanes of I-26.
City of Charleston…
The west side of the city (West Ashley) will use SC 61 to US 78, then to Aiken and North Augusta. Downtown will use the normal lanes of I-26.
Evacuees will take US 52 (Rivers Avenue) to US 78 to US 178 to Orangeburg or continue on US 52 to US 176 or continue north on US 52.
The right lanes of US 52 at Goose Creek will continue on to Moncks Corner. In Moncks Corner, evacuees will be directed onto SC 6, where SC 6 will proceed toward Columbia.
The left lane of US 52 at Goose Creek will go onto US 176 to Columbia.
Evacuees using SC 642 will travel west toward Summerville and take road S-22 (Old Orangeburg Road) to US 78 west.
Evacuees leaving Mount Pleasant will take I-526 or US 17 south to I-26.
Those leaving Sullivan's Island will use SC 703 to I-526 Business to access I-526, then I-26.
Evacuees from the Isle of Palms will use the Isle of Palms connector (SC 517) to go to US 17, where the right lane will turn north on US 17, then proceed to SC 41, to SC 402, then to US 52 to SC 375, then to US 521, to SC 261 to US 378 to Columbia.
Evacuees using the left lanes of the Isle of Palms connector will turn left to go to I-526 and then on to I-26.
Evacuees on I-526 approaching I-26 from East Cooper will be directed to the normal lanes of I-26 if in the right lane of I-526.
Those in the left lane of I-526 will be directed into the reversed lanes of I-26.
Awendaw and McClellanville…
Evacuees will take SC 45 to US 52 where they will be directed right onto US 52 to SC 375 to US 521 to SC 261 to US 378 to Columbia.
Emergency Preparedness Phone #'s by County
Berkeley (843) 719-4166
Charleston (843) 202-7100
Dorchester (8430 832-0341
Georgetown (843) 545-3273
Colleton (843) 549-5632
Williamsburg (843) 354-9330
Horry (843) 915-5150
Jasper (843) 726-7607
Beaufort (843) 470-3100
Hampton (803) 943-7522
Clarendon (803) 435-9310
Orangeburg (803) 533-6265
Other Useful Phone #'s
Red Cross Shelter Information (843) 764-2323
Special Needs Shelters (803) 898-3694
SC Public Information Phone System 1-866-246-0133
SC Road Conditions 1-888-877-9151
Important Web Sites
The information provided in the following web sites may be useful, although not all of the listed sites are official government sites and may not be completely up-to-date or accurate.
Situation Reports and News Releases
S.C. Emergency Management Division
Department of Public Safety/Traffic
Department of Transportation
National Hurricane Center
National Weather Service
Other Useful Sites
American Red Cross
S.C. Web Site
S.C. Salvation Army
S.C. Insurance News Service
Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Weather Channel
Local Television & Radio
Weather Channels on Comcast
Channel 3 -
Channel 5 -
Channel 100 -
B92 (92.5 FM)
95SX (95.1 FM)
Useful downloads available from FEMA