May is Hurricane Preparedness Month

May is Hurricane Preparedness Month

Prepare Ahead of Hurricane Season

Columbia, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster has officially declared May as South Carolina Hurricane Preparedness Month. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division, county emergency managers, the National Weather Service, and all members of the State Emergency Response Team urge people, communities, and businesses to start preparing for the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season ahead of time. This will allow South Carolinians to have an entire month to prepare for hurricanes, making it easier to take necessary precautions and become aware of potential dangers in all regions of the state.

The state’s Hurricane Preparedness Month theme is “Make the most of your time while you still have it.” This means that this month is an opportunity for residents to assess and finalize their long-term storm preparations before the beginning of Hurricane Season.

  • Know Your Zone. In South Carolina, state and local officials issue hurricane evacuations based on zones in coastal counties. Know your hurricane evacuation zone instantly with the SC Emergency Manager mobile app and Hurricane.sc, South Carolina’s online hurricane guide.
  • Prepare Your Home. Do a safety check of your home to ensure it is prepared to withstand the effects of a hurricane. Schedule a roof inspection, double-check your hurricane shutters, and review your insurance policies to ensure they cover the types of damages that hurricanes can cause. Make a list and take photos of your belongings as records. Review your insurance policies now to make sure they cover all your needs.
  • Remember Your Route. Knowing the closest hurricane evacuation route before the upcoming hurricane season is important. This will help you to find a safer and more efficient way out of the hurricane’s path. Once you learn your route, make sure to remember it and stick with it. It is better to rely on the blue hurricane evacuation signs, not a GPS.

South Carolina is one of the most vulnerable states to hurricanes and tropical storms. The state has six coastal counties that border the Atlantic Ocean and over 200 miles of general coastline. The densely populated coastal areas, particularly during peak tourist seasons, combined with the generally low elevations of the coast, pose a significant threat to the state’s safety. Hurricanes have the potential to cause damage not only to the coast but also to all areas of South Carolina. Storm surge and flooding are the most deadly and destructive hazards associated with tropical storms and hurricanes. High winds and tornadoes can cause severe damage to buildings and homes far inland.

Recent hurricanes to impact the Palmetto State include Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Hurricane Irma in 2017, Hurricane Florence in 2018, Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Hurricane Ian in 2022 and Hurricane Idalia in 2023. In 2015, Hurricane Joaquin, combined with a separate storm system resulted in historic flooding from the Midlands to the Lowcountry.

Hurricane season begins June 1 and lasts through November 30.