SC leaders stress preparing for hurricane season before it’s too late
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said the state is as prepared as it can be for hurricane season, but urged residents to prepare their families.
McMaster toured the state’s coastal counties to see and discuss how the state is preparing for hurricane season, which just began on June 1.
National forecasters from NOAA say they’re expecting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year, meaning five to nine total hurricanes and one to four major hurricanes. A major hurricane is defined as a storm of Category 3 strength or greater.
“The entire state is susceptible to hurricane-force winds and excessive rainfall, and we’ve seen that here in the recent past, and anywhere in South Carolina is susceptible to flash flooding, and we need to take that very seriously,” South Carolina Emergency Management Division Director Kim Stenson said.
They say South Carolinians need to know and remember their evacuation zone, particularly for counties on or near the coast that are vulnerable to storm surges.
“Hurricanes are an unfortunate fact of life for the privilege to live paradise that we call South Carolina, but having a plan, knowing where you’re going to go is the best way to keep your family safe during a hurricane,” SCDOT Chief of Staff Justin Powell said.
People need to know their assigned evacuation route, because if everyone evacuates via I-26, it’ll get overloaded and backed up, South Carolina Highway Patrol Lt. Col. J.T. Manley said.
“Please do not follow your GPS. GPS will take you away from these routes,” Manley said. “Most of the time, your GPS will take you the shortest route. In this case, you don’t need to go the shortest route; you need to stay on the route that’s designated for you and your zone.”
The Highway Patrol says troopers are prepared to evacuate people along all 30-plus of the state’s routes – and that these routes are ready for evacuation measures like lane reversals.
Gov. McMaster last issued an evacuation order in 2019 ahead of Hurricane Dorian. But he emphasized that a lot of people have moved to South Carolina since then and tourists will be here any time of the year.
A lot of us can’t remember can’t remember how bad it was, and a lot of us have never seen one before, so we have to be sure our citizens are informed,” he said.
Residents can view the state’s evacuation zones and routes at the state’s official online South Carolina Hurricane Guide.
The first named storm of the year, Arlene, formed late last week in the Gulf of Mexico. It quickly dissipated on Saturday afternoon without making landfall.
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