Hurricane Harvey, and the plight of Houston and coastal southeast Texas, is producing sobering thoughts regarding what might happen should another big hurricane hit South Carolina. It’s been decades since the likes of 1989’s Hugo—generally regarded as the worst hurricane to hit our state in recent history—ran roughshod over SC. Hurricanes Floyd and Bonnie also wreaked significant havoc. Joachin, with its horrendous flooding in 2015 that included SC’s Midlands region, took a devastating toll.
The peak of the Atlantic coastal hurricane season extends from the middle of August through the month of October. Note that Hugo and Floyd occurred in September, and Joachin struck in October. For 2017, we are on track with a season predicted to have above-average activity, meaning eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes predicted. Are you ready?
Why is 2017 Different?
Because El Nino is moving away from the southeastern USA, our area is becoming more vulnerable than usual to hurricanes. The spokesman for the National Hurricane Center, Dennis Feltgen, believes that 2017’s tropical storm Emily should serve as a warning for our area. “It is a great reminder that you need to have a hurricane plan. You may not get a three or a five day notice. You may get something that is less than a day, sometimes less than half a day.”
If you do not have a hurricane plan, now is the time to make one:
- Know your risks.
- Make an emergency plan by mapping an evacuation route, signing up for warnings and alerts, assembling a basic disaster kit (water, food, batteries, etc.), and planning your shelter-in-place options, if that is appropriate.
- Consider buying flood insurance. You must do this at least 30 days in advance of a flood event.
What Should I Do When a Hurricane is Predicted?
If a hurricane is predicted to strike within 48 hours, your area will be put under a hurricane watch by the National Weather Service. Keep yourself aware of changing conditions. Be ready to go should you need to evacuate, including having a plan for any household members with disabilities, a plan for your pets, and enough prescription medications to last a week or two.
If your area is elevated to a warning, it means that a hurricane is expected to arrive within 36 hours. However, many of these suggestions could be carried out while you are still at the “watch” stage. It might be prudent to do so.
- Fill the gas tanks of all vehicles, and make sure you have enough cash. ATMs do not work when the power is out.
- Restock your emergency kit as needed with food, water, batteries, and other supplies.
- Bring items indoors, such as lawn furniture, which could become dangerous projectiles when winds increase.
- Trim trees, and anchor items such as propane tanks that would be dangerous to bring indoors.
- Cover your windows if you don’t have permanent storm shutters. Use 5/8-inch exterior-grade plywood.
- Monitor your local radio and television stations and local emergency websites.
- Charge your cell phone, battery-operated lights, and any other items that need charging. If you have a generator, make sure it works and is gassed up.
- If you keep important papers at home, put them in a waterproof container, and have them ready to go should you be told to evacuate.
- Evacuate as soon as you are told to do so.
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting, and open each as little as possible. Place thermometers inside so you will know the temperature when power is restored. This is one way to tell whether there has been a significant power outage if you are evacuated.
- Stay in touch with family and friends. It could save your life.
After the Hurricane
Special hazards still exist once the hurricane has ended. We have some suggestions for how you can keep yourself safe once the storm has passed. Do what you can to keep your family free from harm.
When life goes wrong, we fight for what’s right.
The Louthian Law Firm is family-owned and family-focused, meaning that we want to help every member of your family when things go awry. If you or a loved one has been injured during a hurricane or severe storm, and you believe it is due to someone else’s negligence, you can find out more by discussing whether you have a case with the South Carolina personal injury attorneys at the Louthian Law Firm. Keep in mind there is a statute of limitations – or a time limit – for filing such claims. The clock for bringing your case is already running, so contact us for a free initial consultation by calling 1-803-454-1200 today, or get in touch with us by using our confidential online contact form.