CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - This holiday weekend, the Lowcountry could get their first taste of a tropical storm. Local officials are urging everyone to be careful and aware, especially at the beach.
This comes ahead of the official start to hurricane season, which is next week, June 1.
Friday, elected officials from Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston counties held their annual hurricane preparedness event. The counties work as a united front, urging residents to get prepared and educated, ahead of any potential threat.
Charleston County Chairman Elliot Summey says his biggest concern heading into this season is the large amount of new people who have moved to the area, from places where they've never experienced a hurricane before. This is of concern to the county because they want to make sure that these new residents understand the severity of a hurricane and take preparation seriously.
Dorchester County Chairman David Chinnis says they learned a lot from the historic flooding that our region experienced back in October. Reflecting on that, Chinnis says there were processes that worked, and some that didn't. One that was not normal procedure, but they felt necessary at the time, was a evening curfew. It was put into place the first night of the heavy flooding. Chinnis says while that was a hard decision to make, and some neighbors were not happy about it, it worked to keep more people safe and off the roadways.
Chinnis says one point of frustration during the flooding was some residents failure to evacuate when told the first time. This ended up putting an extra strain on law enforcement who then, in some cases, had to go back out to these neighborhoods that were advised to leave and undergo rescue missions. He says in the future, he hopes more residents will take their warnings seriously and leave the first time.
Berkeley County Supervisor Bill Peagler says their biggest lesson was concerning traffic barricades. During the flooding, many drivers were moving those out of the way, and driving down very unsafe roads. They're now looking at other ways to block of roads, in the face of an emergency, that could make it harder for people to move.
All three counties agree that social media and local television broadcasts are crucial to getting information out to the public. However, Charleston County has also launched an app that you can download and receive emergency storm alerts from.
Tips for preparing your family for hurricane season:
-Know your evacuation zone and route. Drive it once if you haven't already.
-Prepare an emergency supply kit that your family (including pets) could survive off of for 72 hours.
-Prepare your home. Have supplies ready for boarding up your windows with storm shutters.