Hurricane Preparedness

Since North Myrtle Beach is along the Atlantic Ocean, hurricanes are a natural disaster we need to prepare for. Hurricane Season runs from June until November, with the peak in late-August to October. Throughout history, hurricanes have been known to cause major damage and fatalities…

Fact; Hurricanes can be deadly.

The deadliest hurricane to hit the United States was in 1900, in Galveston, Texas. 8,000 people were killed. The deadliest in South Carolina was The Sea Island Hurricane of 1893, killing between 1000-2000 people in Georgia and South Carolina (mostly Beaufort) combined. The deadliest hurricane in the last 50 years was Hurricane Katrina in 2005; a category 5 that hit parts of the gulf killing 1500 people.

Fact; Hurricanes can be powerful.

The hurricane with the highest wind speed was Hurricane Camille in 1969, hitting a speed of 190 mph. Hurricane Hugo in 1989, a category 5 that hit South Carolina the hardest, had wind speeds up to 140 mph.

Fact; Hurricanes can be costly.

The costliest hurricane to hit the United States was Hurricane Katrina; costing a total of 108 billion dollars in damages. The costliest to hit South Carolina was Hurricane Hugo in 1989; totaling almost 6 billion in losses in South Carolina alone.

With some simple precautions and being prepared, we can be sure to stay safe during hurricane seasons. Here’s a few lists of things to do and have on hand in case of a major hurricane.

Before the Storm...

  • Be sure to board up any windows and doors using plywood.
  • Listen to the radio weather stations; keep up to date with the latest info on flood warnings and wind warnings.
  • Be sure your Emergency Kit is fully stocked.
  • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind from outside; grills, bikes, patio furniture, flower pots, yard art, etc. If it can’t be brought in (Swing sets, trampolines, etc.) try to chain them down or use sandbags to hold them in place.
  • Turn all refrigerators and freezers to the coldest setting. Try to avoid opening and closing a lot. This way, if the power goes out, your food can try and last longer.
  • Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank. In case of an evacuation, this means you can head out without stopping.
  • Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan of your own. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
  • Evacuate if advised by authorities. Be careful to avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
  • Review evacuation routes; make sure to have a map ready to go to avoid being lost. Click here for a printable map of the Horry County Evacuation map.

Have an Emergency Kit...

  • Water; try and have a gallon a person for at least a week. If the storm gets bad enough, it may be impossible to leave your house for a few days due to flooding. Be sure to have plenty of drinking water for you and your family.
  • Non-perishable food; canned goods, crackers, granola bars, dried fruit, etc. Also have a non-electric can opener, plastic utensils and plates, and some sort of camp stove.
  • Axe; have one on hand if you can’t leave your house. Other tools can be a pocket knife, hammer, and rope.
  • Trash bags and duct tape; use to fix leaks in a pinch.
  • Flashlights with extra batteries. Candles are a fire hazard and shouldn’t be used.
  • Blankets
  • Rain gear / extra clothing
  • Fully Stocked First-Aid kit, including any essential medications.
  • Toiletries
  • Keys to house, cars, etc.
  • All important documents in a water-proof and fire-proof case.
  • Cash; ATM’s could be down and you may need some small bills on hand.
  • If you have a pet, have their items collected and make sure to have food and water for them.

During the Storm...

  • Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
  • Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
  • Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.
  • Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

Evacuate…

  • If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
  • If you feel you are in danger.

After the Storm...

  • Continue listening to Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
  • Stay alert for more rainfall and flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended. There could be more.
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company. Lowered lines are potential fire hazards.
  • Stay out of any building that has water around it.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
  • Use flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles; they are a fire hazard.
  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls. If your power is out conserve your cell’s battery.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.

Remember, in the event of a major hurricane, always tell your loved ones you are safe!

Helpful Links

Hurricane Facts for Kids

http://www.ready.gov/kids/know-the-facts/hurricanes

Red Cross Printable Checklist

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/hurricane/resources/Hurricane%20ENG.PDF

SCDot Evacuation Maps

http://www.scdot.org/getting/evacuation.aspx