Hurricane Preparedness Month

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Columbia, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster has proclaimed the month of May to be the first South Carolina Hurricane Preparedness Month. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division, county emergency managers, the National Weather Service along with all members of the State Emergency Response Team urge individuals, businesses and communities to begin preparations ahead of the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season. By dedicating an entire month to hurricane preparedness, South Carolinians in all regions of the state have more time to prepare and become aware of the necessary precautions to take.

The theme for the state’s first Hurricane Prep Month is “take the time while you have the time,” meaning this month is an opportunity to see what long-term storm preparations residents can make now to make sure they are finalized and ready at the start 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, South Carolina’s online hurricane guide.

Prepare Your Home. Do a safety check to make sure your home is best able to withstand the effects of a hurricane. Have your roof inspected, double check hurricane shutters and make sure your insurance policies cover the types of damages hurricanes can cause. Make a list and take photos of your belongings as records. Check your insurance polices now to make sure your policies cover what you need them to.

Remember Your Route. Be aware of the closest hurricane evacuation route ahead of the upcoming hurricane season. This will allow for a more efficient and safer route out of the hurricane’s path. Once you’ve learned your route, stick with it and remember it. Rely on the blue hurricane evacuation signs, not GPS.

South Carolina is one of the most vulnerable states to hurricanes and tropical storms. Six coastal counties border the Atlantic Ocean. These counties have more than 200 miles of general coastline. Densely populated coastal areas, especially during peak tourist seasons, coupled with the generally low coastal elevations significantly increase the state's vulnerability. Hurricanes not only threaten the coast, but 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, and Hurricane Ian in 2022. 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.