Carolinas Brace for Hurricane Florence
Updated: Sep 15, 2018
Governor McMaster has ordered mandatory evacuations for the entire South Carolina coastline. The Governors of North Carolina and Virginia have also declared a state of emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long, who is a North Carolina native has compared this storm to Hurricane Hugo of 1989. The powerful and destructive forces of Hurricane Florence has already claimed lives in NC.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 every year. The U.S. coastline is struck by a major hurricane with winds of 111 mph or more at least once every two years. Planning is the best way that you can minimize the potentially catastrophic effects that a major storm can have on your family, property, and community. You should plan before the season starts, when a tropical depression approaches, and when your community is in the path of being impacted by a hurricane. It is also important to have a plan for what to do after a major storm leaves your area.
You can keep track of Hurricane Florence through the week at the National Hurricane Center.
Hurricane hints and tips:
Hurricanes and tropical storms can pose serious risk to life and property. Major hurricanes can shutdown businesses and displace families. The dangers of hurricanes include coastal flooding, high surf, rip currents (riptide), inland flooding, historic rain downpours, damaging high winds, and tornadoes. The storm’s powerful winds and massive battering waves can cause an abnormal surge of water as the storm approaches the coastline.
Storm surges from hurricanes result in higher death tolls and greater destruction of property along the coast. Hurricane flooding can travel several miles inland, particularly along inlets, streams, and rivers.
Flooding from overwhelming downpours of rain is the second leading cause for fatalities from hurricanes that have made landfall in US. Heavy downpours related the hurricane can cause flooding many miles inland. Flooding can last for several days to weeks after a hurricane has weakened and dispersed.
The flooding of coal ash basins, waste lagoons, Superfund sites, chemical storage facilities and landfills can threaten public health and surrounding environments, and contaminate neighboring groundwater supplies. Following a flooding event, private well owners should contact their local Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) office for testing recommendations. You can find a list of local DHEC contacts here. (Need help finding the appropriate contact or exploring private testing options? Contact us for assistance!) Note: Schools and some state offices will close indefinitely on Tuesday, September 11th.
Winds from a major storm can wreck large structures, vehicles and homes. Signs, roofing material, and various materials left outside can wind up flying through the air as a result of hurricane strength winds. Be sure to secure items on your doorsteps, balconies, outdoor sitting area, and around your property.
Vehicles should be parked in a garage or close to a building to avoid the full force of the high winds. Remember to always park your vehicle away from any trees or power lines. It is wise to take pictures prior to the arrival of the storm. Proof of your car’s condition before the storm strikes is vital for personal and potential insurance purposes. Reports suggest that you may want to consider taking pictures of your car’s interior and exterior as cars are also prone to flood damage during a hurricane.
Make sure you place copies of your car’s keys, registration, and insurance documentation in a dry place like a zip-lock plastic bag. When the storm is over, drive only if absolutely necessary. Stay away from flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Watch carefully for fallen objects, downed power lines and weakened bridges and roads.
Hurricane strength winds can cause significant damage to mobile homes. Mobile homes should be secured with over-the-top or frame ties, anchoring the home to the ground. After the mobile home is secured it is encouraged to then take refuge with friends, relatives or at a public shelter. A list of public emergency shelters in the state of SC can be found here.
Tornadoes can occur when hurricanes make landfall. These tornadoes usually happen in rain bands away from the center of the Hurricane. Review your emergency plans for what to do in the event of a tornado
Destructive waves created by strong winds can represent a huge danger to beach front households and docked boats. These waves can cause lethal rip currents, major shoreline erosion, and damage structures along coastlines. The effects of major hurricane can be felt long before the storm actually makes landfall.
Being prepared and having specific supplies can be a matter of life and death in the event of a major hurricane. AAFJ strongly encourages folks living near coastal areas to evacuate if you are in the path of a hurricane. Evacuation routes from the SC coast can be found here. You can also find a checklist of recommended items to help ensure your survival in the event of a hurricane related disaster at ready.gov/build-a-kit
We hope this storm will change its projected course and go back out into the ocean without making landfall at all, but folks should continue to prepare for the worst and watch the status of the hurricane as time progresses. Evacuation is strongly encouraged.
Damages: $9 billion USD (1989)
Formed: Sep 10, 1989
Dissipated: Sep 25, 1989
Highest winds: 161.56 mph (Category 5)
Disaster officials estimated that one in two of the houses on the Isle of Palms suffered severe structural damage. About one in three suffered similar damage on Sullivans Island, they said.
As darkness fell, there were still no reports of casualties on either of the islands. But officials were so overwhelmed by the destruction they had seen that they believed casualties remained likely.
September 23, 1989 Los Angeles Times
Video: Myrtle Beach, September 1989, 40 miles north of where Hurricane Hugo made landfall.
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