Hurricane Season is upon us and there is no better time to prepare than now. We’re already seeing an early and aggressive start to the season as — for the first time since record-keeping began — two tropical storms are spinning in the Atlantic in June.
Georgetown County’s Emergency Services Director, Brandon Ellis strongly encourages residents to prepare a survival kit, know your evacuation zone, and have a plan.
“We remind residents and visitors to stay prepared because it only takes one storm. One significant storm can change the whole season, can change our coastline, can change our lives,” Ellis said. “Although we have a forecast that says it’s going to be an average season, we’re not letting our guards down in case we get a rogue storm that could knock us off the map.”
The county provides information on what to pack and evacuation zones and protocols at gtcounty.org/gcemd.
“We have already done some events to educate and prepare the public and we have more in the planning stages right now,” Ellis said. “Some of the initiatives we’re doing right now include getting the state Hurricane Guide out to residents via newspaper. We’re also working with county libraries and Parks and Recreation, and some of our other departments.”
Ellis recommends also visiting hurricane.sc for preparedness information from the state.
Ellis recently attended a hurricane preparedness meeting to better understand the recent advancements that have been made to better forecast and predict the effects of hurricanes.
“Our partners at the National Hurricane Center have introduced a storm surge forecast model this year. It was experimental last year; the data was validated with Hurricane Ian,” said Ellis. “Our outlook has also extended from five days to seven days, so we’re looking at possible development as far-out as a week now. It gives us a little more time to have some forward thought and make additional preparations.”
It is crucial that residents take the new hurricane evacuation route study and surveys that are being sent out. Learn more and access the survey at https://www.scemd.org/news/hurricane-evacuation-survey/.
“Participation will be very beneficial for us because it will help us gather valuable information for county planning and messaging initiatives,” said Ellis. “We have a very changing, dynamic population, with new folks moving here that may not understand the threat hurricanes impose.”
For any questions, gtcounty.org/gcemd or call the Emergency Management Division at 843-545-3273.