Your family needs to be prepared with a disaster plan at the beginning of hurricane season. Taking the time now to develop your plan will save time, stress, and even lives. Use the resources in this Storm Team 2 Hurricane Ready Guide on counton2.com to develop your plan today.
Be Prepared Checklist | Hurricane Supply List | Important Phone Numbers | Hurricane Evacuation | Pet & Animal Safety | Protecting Your Property | Flooding | During & After the Storm | Electrical Safety | Tracking Map | Tracking the Tropics
A message from the Lowcountry’s Chief Meteorologist, Rob Fowler
Thank you once again for trusting Storm Team 2 by using our 2023 Hurricane Ready Guide.
We are coming off another busy year in 2022, with 14 named storms, 8 hurricanes, 2 of which became major hurricanes, with winds greater than 110 mph.
We personally dealt with Hurricane Ian, one of the strongest storms of the season. Fortunately for us here in the Lowcountry, we only saw a small fraction of what others, including residents of Florida, saw from the now retired storm.
Overall, I would say we were lucky again this past hurricane season.
We certainly can relate to what it’s like to be impacted by a major hurricane, but it’s been 34 years since Hurricane Hugo came crashing ashore in the dark of night on September 21st of 1989. A lot has changed in those 34 years, including the number of people in harm’s way here along our beautiful coastline.
It’s time once again to prepare for this hurricane season, especially since forecast signals are indicating another potentially busy year. What we can’t predict is where various storms will make landfall. This is where the Storm Team 2 Hurricane Ready Guide comes in. It is packed full of vital information to help you plan and be ready, just in case. The information contained in our guide will help you weather every storm and gives you what you need to make the right decision for you and your family. Preparation is the key, because we know, all it takes is one landfalling tropical system to cause major issues.
Storm Team 2, along with our entire staff here at WCBD-TV, will be with you every step of the way. You can count on us to see you through this 2023 Hurricane Season.
HURRICANE WATCH CHECKLIST
- Review your family plan
- Charge cell phones and have a car adaptor
- Stay tuned to News 2, counton2.com, and the News 2 and Storm Team 2 apps for weather updates and important information like evacuations
- Check medical supplies and prescription medicines and have a minimum two-week supply on hand.
- Check all battery-operated TVs, radios, flashlights and lanterns. Make sure they are in good working condition with fresh batteries.
- Have enough cash for up to a week. ATMs may be out of cash or not working if power is out.
- Fill all vehicles with gas and park them in a garage or close to the side of your house.
- Turn off propane gas at the tank before evacuating.
- Check with your natural gas provider to determine whether to turn off before leaving.
- Locate storm shutters, garage door supports and any hardware or tools necessary for installation.
- Install shutters and supports. Install second story and other difficult shutters first.
HURRICANE WARNING CHECKLIST
Outside your home
- Brace entry and garage doors; cover your windows
- Tie down any loose objects
- Disconnect propane gas and water as needed
- Bring your barbecue grill and propane tank inside- this may be your only means of cooking during a power outage. (Note: Only use grill outdoors, after the storm has passed.)
Refrigeration & Water
- Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting.
- Freeze water in plastic jugs to help keep your freezer cold when power goes out
- Stock up on jugs of bottled water. You should have at least one gallon per person per day
- Fill bathtub with water for non-drinking use
Valuables & Safety
- Prepare your safe room. Stock it with a battery-powered TV and/or radio with spare batteries, sleeping bags, pillows, chairs, snacks, drinking water, and games for children
- Have a mattress nearby to get under in case your home suffers structural damage
- Place valuables and personal papers in waterproof containers or sealable plastic bags
Mobile & Manufactured Home Residents
- Evacuate. Do not attempt to ride out the storm in a manufactured home.
- Turn off gas at the tank but do not disconnect
- Bring in or secure all outdoor objects
- Turn off main water supply source to your home
If you evacuate to a shelter
- Only do so as a last resort
- Try to eat a meal before entering the shelter
- Take pillows, blankets, and other supplies
- Check to make sure the shelter is open. All shelters do not open at the same time.
TERMS TO KNOW
Do you know the difference between a watch and a warning?
TROPICAL STORM WATCHES AND WARNING
Take these alerts seriously. Although tropical storms have lower wind speeds than hurricanes, they often bring life-threatening flooding and dangerous winds. Take precautions!
Hurricane conditions are possible within the specified coastal area. Because hurricane preparedness activities become more difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds.
Hurricane conditions are expected in the specified area of the warning. Because hurricane preparedness activities become difficult once winds reach tropical storm force, the hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical storm force winds.
Creating a hurricane preparedness kit is an essential step in ensuring the safety of you and your loved ones during a hurricane.
The kit should include enough supplies to last at least three days, including non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, batteries, flashlights, and a portable radio. Other important items to include are a multi-purpose tool, hygiene items, cash, important documents, and a map of the area. It’s also important to consider the specific needs of your family, such as any necessary medications or items for pets.
By taking the time to create a hurricane preparedness kit, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are ready for any potential emergency.
Important Phone Numbers
Post all emergency numbers or store them in your cell phone in case you need to use them during an emergency situation. Your phones could be a lifeline when a hurricane or severe weather hits.
|Berkeley Emergency Management||843-719-4166|
|Charleston Emergency Management||843-746-3800|
|Colleton Emergency Management||843-549-5632|
|Dorchester Emergency Management||843-832-0341|
|Georgetown Emergency Management||843-545-3273|
|Williamsburg Emergency Management||843-354-9330|
|Berkeley County Sheriff||843-719-4412|
|Charleston County Sheriff||843-743-7200|
|Colleton County Sheriff||843-549-2211|
|Dorchester County Sheriff||843-832-0300|
|Georgetown County Sheriff||843-546-5102|
|Police, Fire, EMS, Emergencies||911|
|South Carolina Highway Patrol||803-896-7920|
|Williamsburg County Sheriff||843-335-6381|
|Berkeley Electric Co-op||843-761-8200|
|Coastal Electric Co-op||843-538-5700|
|Edisto Electric Co-op||800-433-3292|
|News 2 News Line||843-216-4875|
|News 2 Weather Line||843-216-4933|
Prepare an evacuation plan
1: Pick a location before the storm.
Decide ahead of time where to go if you are told to evacuate. Due to the unpredictability of storm tracks, choose several places; a friend or relative’s home in another town, a motel/hotel, or as a last resort, a Red Cross shelter.
2: Keep information on hand.
Keep handy the telephone numbers and directions for these places. You may need to take alternate routes if roads are closed or clogged.
3: Stay tuned to News 2 for news and updates.
If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Evacuating by car
Hurricanes are very unpredictable. While driving, the storm could change direction and you could unknowingly be headed into the path of the storm. Be prepared to re-direct your evacuation. The later you leave, the more likely you will encounter long delays and traffic jams. Leave early and have a backup plan.
The availability of public transportation is not meant to be a convenient alternative for you and your family during a hurricane evacuation. Using public transportation is the means of LAST RESORT. Only take what you can carry and prepare for long lines, slow service, and lack of air conditioning.
What to expect at a shelter:
- Evacuation shelters are usually schools or other solidly constructed buildings that provide a large, safe area.
- They should always be considered a last resort if relatives or friends are not available.
- They tend to lack many comforts such as bedding, pillows, and food – so bring your own.
- Space can be limited. Leave ASAP if your home is vulnerable and under an evacuation order.
- Locations can change from year-to-year; watch News 2 and check counton2.com for shelters as they become available.
- Be prepared to live with strangers in close quarters for the duration of the storm.
- Daycare is not provided; supervise your children.
Click here to learn more about hurricane evacuations, know your zone, and to download evacuation maps.
Your pet should be part of your family plan. If you must evacuate, the most important thing you can do to protect your pets is to evacuate them, too. Leaving pets behind – even if you create a safe place for them – is likely to result in their being injured, lost, or worse.
Assemble a portable pet supply kit
- Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a first aid kit.
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can’t escape.
- Food, potable water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and can opener.
- Current pet photos in case they get lost.
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, and behavior problems.
- Name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
- Pet beds and toys, if easily transportable.
Have a safe place to take your pets
- Red Cross disaster shelters cannot accept pets due to health and safety regulations, and other considerations. Service animals that assist people with disabilities are the only animals allowed in Red Cross shelters. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to find a shelter for your animals in the midst of a disaster, so plan ahead. Do not wait until a disaster strikes to do your research.
- Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets and restrictions on number, size, and species.
- Prepare a list of boarding facilities and veterinarians who could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour numbers.
- Ask friends, or relatives outside of the affected area whether they could shelter your animals.
- Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets in a disaster. Animal shelters may be overburdened caring for the animals they already have, as well as those displaced by a disaster, so this should be your last resort.
When the storm approaches
- Plan ahead to protect your pet
- Call ahead to confirm emergency shelter arrangements for you and your pets
- Check to be sure your pet disaster supplies are ready to take at a moment’s notice.
- Bring all pets into the house so that you won’t have to search for them if you have to leave in a hurry.
- Make sure all dogs and cats are wearing collars and are securely fastened, with up-to-date identification. Attach the phone number and address of either your temporary shelter or a friend or relative outside the disaster area. You can buy temporary tags or put adhesive tape on the back of your pet’s ID tag, adding information with an indelible pen.
- Trim your trees and any branches that could hit your home in a storm
- Thin out vegetation to lessen wind resistance
- Place your tree trimmings at the curb on your vegetation collection day
- Tie up bundles of less than 50 lbs. and less than 6 ft in length
- Clear your yard and property of any bulky waste items before hurricane season
As the storm approaches
- Do not trim trees once a hurricane watch or warning has been issued
- Do not take your trash to the curb or to landfills during a hurricane watch or warning
- Services will be temporarily halted and facilities may close early for storm preparation
After the storm passes
- Count on News 2 for information about waste collection service
- Residents will be notified when normal pick-up service resumes, although it may be several weeks before yard waste is removed
- Keep household garbage separate from other waste materials in tied plastic bags, in case of a delay in garbage collection
- Place small debris, loose items, and household trash in garbage cans or tied plastic bags,
- Keep debris away from fences, mailboxes, power poles, transformers, and any downed electric wires
- Trash and debris will be collected only from curbside or public roadways
Protecting your property
Your home: After the storm
- Making repairs — make temporary repairs to protect your home or property from further damage. Cover holes in the roof or walls with plywood and use heavy-duty plastic to cover windows
- Hiring a contractor — before hiring a contractor, verify their license and insurance company
- Estimates and receipts — get an estimate first and discuss payment terms. Get receipts for the labor and materials.
- Price gauging — price gouging is a significant increase in the cost of goods or services following a disaster and is illegal. South Carolina will implement price gouging laws when an emergency declaration has been made.
- Save your records — keep records, bills, and paid invoices until your insurance representative visits.
- Save evidence — take photos of damaged areas and possessions
Filing an insurance claim
- Notify your agent as soon as possible.
- Give an address and phone number where you can be reached if you have evacuated.
- Present your photos and inventory to help your adjuster assess the damage.
- Be patient. Cases are expedited based on severity or hardship.
Your Boat: Before the storm
- Review your insurance — Check insurance policies for adequate coverage, making sure you understand any exclusions and your duties as a vessel owner.
- Check your belongings — Inventory all equipment on board. Remove or secure loose items.
- Boat trailer — If you use a boat trailer, check the tires, bearings, and hitch. If you leave your boat on the trailer during the storm, try to store it in a garage or warehouse. Otherwise, park as close to the house as possible.
- Protect your hardware — Check deck hardware, electronics, and the bilge pump. Keep batteries charged.
- Know your route — If you plan on moving your boat on the water, know your route well. Rehearse and time your hurricane plan, then double that time to allow for traffic delays and weather.
- Bridges may be locked down — When an evacuation order is issued, bridges may be locked in the down position to speed evacuation of the barrier islands. Set sail early to avoid blocked waterways.
- Strengthen your lines — If you leave your boat in a marina, double all lines. Rig crossing spring lines fore and aft. Attach lines high on pilings to allow for storm surge. Protect all lines from chafing. Remove as much electronic gear as possible.
- Avoid boats during storms — NEVER attempt to ride out any tropical storm or hurricane on your vessel.
- Stay anchored — With the manufacturer’s approval, fill the hull with water, and put the anchor out. If the storm surge reaches your property, the anchor may help the boat stay in your backyard.
- Liability to neighbors — A final note on liability: You are responsible for any damage to someone else’s property caused by your boat, so secure it well.
When it comes to hurricanes, wind speeds do not tell the whole story. Hurricanes produce storm surges, tornadoes, and often the most deadly of all – inland flooding. While storm surge is always a potential threat, in the past 35 years, more people have died from inland flooding. Intense rainfall is not directly related to the wind speed of hurricanes. In fact, some of the greatest rainfall amounts occur from weaker storms that drift slowly or stall over an area.
- Inland flooding can be a major threat to areas hundreds of miles from the coast as intense rain falls from these huge tropical air masses.
- Learn your vulnerability to flooding by determining the elevation of your property.
- Evaluate your insurance coverage; floodplains can change due to construction and development of surrounding areas.
- In highly flood-prone areas, keep materials on hand like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, plastic garbage bags, lumber, shovels, work boots, and gloves. Call your local emergency management agency to learn how to construct proper protective measures around your home.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels, and areas known to flood, so that neither you nor your evacuation routes are not cut off.
- Avoid driving into water of unknown depth. Moving water can quickly sweep your vehicle away.
- Restrict children from playing in flooded areas.
- Test drinking water for potability; wells should be pumped out and the water tested before drinking.
- Do not use fresh food that has come in contact with floodwaters. Wash canned goods that come in contact with floodwaters with soap and hot water.
Do you need flood insurance?
Flood insurance is available to any property owner located in a community participating in the National Flood Insurance Program. All areas are susceptible to some degree of flooding, although 25% of all flood claims occur in low-to-moderate risk areas.
For more information, contact your insurance professional, your local emergency management office, or building department. You may also order a flood map from FEMA’s map service, for a fee, by calling 1-800-358-9616.
During the storm
- Stay inside until the hurricane passes. Make sure the storm has completely passed before going outside of your house.
- Keep windows closed. It is a myth that opening a window on one side of the house will equalize pressure.
- If your house begins to sustain damage, cover yourself with a mattress and pillows. If your safe room is a bathroom with a bathtub, get in the tub under a mattress.
- As winds become more intense, go to your safe room and do not expose yourself to the hurricane’s winds.
- If you’re in a tall building, avoid the top floors as wind speeds are stronger the higher you go. Go to a safe room.
- Stay tuned to News 2, counton2.com, and the News 2 apps for updates.
- Use the phone for urgent calls only. Do not use the phone if you hear thunder.
Power and Lights
- Turn off circuit breakers if the power goes out.
- Leave one circuit breaker on with a lamp so you will know when power is restored.
- Do not light candles or kerosene lamps during the storm
After the storm
- Use extreme caution. There may be dangerous situations all around you.
- If your house is damaged, move carefully to get out. Do not return until inspected by officials.
- Always supervise children.
- Do not drink the tap water until officials have announced it is safe.
Driving and transportation
- Avoid driving if possible because of debris and road blockage.
- If power is out, gasoline will be in short supply, and gas stations will have long lines.
- At intersections with stop lights out, treat it as a four-way stop and use extreme caution.
Power and communication
- Phone lines and cell towers will be damaged or overloaded. Try making calls at “off-peak” times.
- If power remains out for an extended period, FEMA will set up relief stations to provide free ice, water, and other necessary items.
Restoring Electrical Services
Repair crews work to return power to the facilities that serve the largest number of affected customers first. Priorities are not established by location, payment history, or how often you call. Crews focus on facilities that provide essential services to your community, such as hospitals, police, fire stations, and television or radio stations. Once major repairs have been made, work begins to restore smaller groups and individual customers.
Many areas may experience widespread power outages. For the safety of repair crews, power companies will not begin restoration efforts until wind speeds are below 35 miles per hour. power outages can last several hours to several weeks. During the wait, a portable generator can help restore life to normal, but its safe use requires care and planning.
Portable Generator Safety
- Always run portable generators outside the house. Never run generators inside a home or garage.
- Be sure to turn the generators off and let them cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts can and does ignite, causing injury and death.
- Keep generators well away from open windows – including neighbors’ – so deadly exhaust does not enter the home.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for grounding the generator.
- Never attempt to connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring. Power from the generator will “back feed” into utility lines with the potential to severely injure or kill a neighbor or utility crew working to restore service. Instead, plug appliances directly into the generator’s outlet.
- Use heavy-duty extension cords rated for outdoor use and place the generator safely outdoors.
- Observe noise ordinances and be considerate of your neighbors.