As summer begins to transition to fall, there’s another season that should be on people’s minds this month. Sept. 10 is the meteorological peak of the Atlantic Hurricane season.
“We were very lucky that Hurricane Idalia didn’t do more damage here last week,” said Brandon Ellis, Georgetown County Emergency Manager and Director of Emergency Services. “Hopefully, we won’t have any more tropical activity come through our area this season, but we still have a lot of Hurricane season left and, statistically, we’re entering the busiest part of the season.”
Historically, the number of storms rises during the period from late August through the month of September. Georgetown County Emergency Management is currently tracking Hurricane Lee across the Atlantic. It strengthened this morning and is now just shy of being a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour. Long-range forecast models show it should make a northerly turn next week keeping it away from our coast, but “we aren’t counting our chickens until the eggs hatch with this one,” Ellis said.
“Even if Lee doesn’t directly impact our area, there will be indirect impacts in the form of dangerous rip currents and rough surf conditions,” he added. “We will continue to closely monitor Lee throughout the weekend.”
Surf conditions could begin to deteriorate by the end of this weekend along our beaches.
In the meantime, Ellis advises residents to remain vigilant and make sure their hurricane kits are ready. The best time to do that is before a storm is forecast to impact our area, he said.
Here are some actions you can take now to make sure your family is hurricane-ready.
- Make an Emergency Plan. Make sure everyone in your household knows and understands your hurricane plans. Make sure your plan includes pets.
- Know your Evacuation Zone. You may have to evacuate quickly due to a hurricane if you live in an evacuation zone. Plan for where you will go and again, don’t forget to include your pets.
- Recognize Warnings and Alerts. Have several ways to receive alerts. Download the FEMA app and receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide. You can also download the SC Emergency Manager app. Both are free at the App Store and Google Play. Sign up for community alerts in your area and be aware of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA), which require no sign up.
- Review Important Documents. Make sure your insurance policies and personal documents, such as ID, are up to date. Make copies and keep them in a secure password-protected digital space.
- Strengthen your Home. De-clutter drains and gutters, bring in outside furniture, and consider hurricane shutters.
- Gather Supplies.Have enough supplies for your household, including medication, batteries, cleaning and disinfectant supplies, food and water and pet supplies. You may not have access to these supplies for days or even weeks after a hurricane.
The worst storms in memory for South Carolina occurred in September and October. Hurricane Hugo hit near McClellanville on Sept. 22, 1989, causing catastrophic damage along the coast. Hurricane Hazel struck near Myrtle Beach on Oct. 15, 1954, permanently altering the coastline in Georgetown County.
Learn more about hurricane preparedness at gtcounty.org/gcemd or scemd.org.