COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - We’ve been gearing up for the start of hurricane season all week long during Hurricane Preparedness Week, and officials with the SC Emergency Management Division tell WIS-TV that being prepared means recognizing just how threatening these storms can be and knowing they can happen anywhere in our state.
The Palmetto State is one of the most vulnerable in the nation to be impacted by hurricanes according to SCEMD with six coastal counties along the border of the Atlantic Ocean. These storms bring strong winds and catastrophic amounts of rain, which could mean flooding, property damage, loss of power and other essential needs.
Officials say this is what you’ll want to keep in mind as you plan ahead by saving up basic disaster supplies like a three-day supply of non-perishable food, plenty of water, rain gear, and pet supplies. SCEMD officials also say these rules apply to everyone, regardless of your location.
“For instance, 30 years ago, a storm like Hurricane Hugo – one of our state’s largest impacts from a hurricane – stayed a category one hurricane as it left the state up near Charlotte. So, folks here in the Columbia/Midlands area need to understand that hurricanes are not just coastal phenomenon – that they can bring significant impacts even this far inland,” SCEMD Chief of Staff Steven Batson said.
Just this week, SCEMD issued this season’s Hurricane Guide which can be found at any local Walgreens and the DMV. It can also be downloaded online.
Inside the guide, you’ll find a list of basic disaster supplies that are suggested in case of an extended power outage. There are also helpful tips for coming up with an evacuation plan, as well as ways to safely return home. SCEMD officials say another step to consider while getting prepared for hurricane season is buying flood insurance.
“One of the trends that we’ve seen recently is the significant amount of rainfall that comes with these storms. Consider if 36 inches of rain fell over an entire county in the Midlands region. That’s certainly possible. That much rain over a large area is obviously going to cause significant impacts,”Batson said.
Emergency management officials say every part of South Carolina is susceptible to hurricanes – not just coastal areas, but here in the Midlands too. They recommend that families across the state take steps to get prepared for the upcoming hurricane season which begins Saturday.