Are you prepared for severe weather? That is the question leaders in South Carolina are asking residents. They organized a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday morning.
Some residents on Johns Island say they are now prepared but that they were not last September when an EF-2 tornado ripped through the area. They say it is important to have an emergency preparedness plan set in place before severe weather happens.
Sonny Boy Lane is a seemingly quiet, well-kept neighborhood. A year and a half ago, that was a different story.
"It really snuck up on us," neighborhood resident Lorna Hettler said. Hettler witnessed the destruction firsthand. She says her family was not prepared for the storm. "That, yeah, it took us by surprise. We probably should've had something better put together."
There is no siren system on Johns Island, however, mobile alerts and warnings are accessible. Hettler said she, along with many of her neighbors, did not take mobile warnings seriously.
"It alarmed so often that they just thought it was, yet again, another storm warning and they tried to sleep through it," Hettler said. "That wasn't the case, though, this time."
This time, a tornado ripped through Sonny Boy Lane, leaving a path of damage.
"It was literally, like they say, a bomb went off," Hettler said. "Trees were down everywhere, power was out, the house next door was all over the place, insulation, bricks. People's houses were torn off."
Today, residents of Sonny Boy Lane know the importance of emergency preparedness plans.
"You only have a moment with a tornado. A hurricane you can watch for a week. A tornado, it comes immediately," Hettler explained. "So it's important for you to have things ready in your house."
Stock batteries, keep food and water readily available and emergency aid kits on hand at all times. Also, take severe weather warnings seriously.