CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD)- South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster met with state emergency and transportation leaders in Charleston County on Friday to discuss preparations for hurricane season.
“We’ve been through this before, but we have a lot of new people in our state who have never been through a hurricane before and never seen one,” said Governor McMaster. “It’s not just a coastal event although that’s where it begins. But, it can travel all across the state.”
The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) says that they are prepared for the worst.
“We’re prepared for a direct hit,” said Kim Stenson, the Director of SCEMD.
Emergency officials also warned coastal neighbors about the risk of flooding from hurricanes. The most important talking point was to prepare homes for a storm now and not right before it arrives.
“We’re almost certain to have some hurricane activity in South Carolina this year,” said Stenson. “Know your zone, prepare your home and remember your route. They will help keep everybody safer.”
The South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) has been making sure all evacuation routes are clearly marked. SCHP encourages all neighbors to know their evacuation zone and stay on their evacuation route.
“A lot of times your GPS is going to want to take you to another route. We ask the public to please stay on your route, know your zone and prepare early,” said Colonel John Travis Manly.
One of the key measures taken to ensure a smooth evacuation from the Lowcountry in the event of a major hurricane is reversing the eastbound lanes of I-26. SCHP and the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) say that they are prepared for that possibility.
“We start that reversal with a crossover just west of Nexton Parkway and it ends in Columbia at exit 116 right there at I-77,” said Rob Perry, the Director of Traffic Engineering for SCDOT.
There are 35 evacuation routes that are used when a storm is strong enough. SCHP says that there will be a full-scale exercise on June 9 to prepare for an evacuation like that.
“I recommend that if an evacuation order is issued that means that it is time to evacuate and heed that,” said Governor McMaster.