'Tis the season – hurricane season that is
by Philip Maenza III
Editor of The News Journal
By the time this paper comes out hurricane season will have official begun here in South Carolina. According to the South Carolina State Climatology Office “Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends November 30” (2018). Despite South Carolina being relatively close to the coast, there have only been roughly 38 tropical cyclones on record since 1836 to have made landfall (Climatology Office, 2018). There have been 24 of these tropical cyclones that have been considered to be hurricanes. Although that number may not seem very high the dangerous nature of hurricanes should not be ignored.
Since this will be my first hurricane season here in South Carolina, I wanted to take the extra steps to assure that I am prepared for whatever bad weather might come our way. For those of you who have been living here longer than I have these readiness tips might seem pretty obvious, but I hope that they are helpful anyway.
One of the first steps to hurricane readiness is to know where to go in case of a hurricane evacuation It is important to know the evacuation routes which can be found on fcemd.org. It is also important to be aware of local hurricane shelters. There are four hurricane shelters in and around the area where our readers predominately live. These hurricane shelters include Wilson High School and South Florence High School in Florence, Timmonsville Educational Center in Timmonsville, and Hannah-Pamplico Elementary/Middle School in Pamplico.
A secondary step to being prepared for an impending hurricane is to put together a go-bag. This bag can include items such as disaster supply kit, a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate. It is especially important to keep these items dry in order to assure their usefulness. This go-bag is mostly items that you need in order to travel and get you to the shelter. This is not necessarily a readiness kit that you would keep at home.
As I am sure many of you are aware, not every hurricane is going to force the area to evacuate. In the case where there is an incoming hurricane that does not require evacuation, there are still some steps that should be taken in order to be prepared at home. You should make sure that you plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads. The list should include: water, at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. The water is for drinking and sanitation. There should be at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food as well. Some other useful items would be battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA weather radio with tone alert, flashlights, first aid kit, extra batteries, whistle to signal for help, dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place, moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation, wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, manual can opener for food, local maps, cell phone with chargers and a backup battery (FEMA, 2018).
It is better to be prepared for the worst even if it never comes. Being ready for the weather associated with hurricane season is vital to living here in Florence. We at The News Journal want our readers to be safe during the next couple of months. I hope that these tips were of some help to you as the readers. Even though I am sure that many of you have heard them many times before, there is never a wrong time for a quick refresher.
Climatology Office. (2018). South Carolina State Climatology Office. Retrieved May 30, 2018, from http://www.dnr.sc. gov/climate/sco/Tropics/hurricanes_affecting_sc.php
Department of Homeland Security. (2018). Hurricanes. Retrieved May 30, 2018, from https:// www.ready.gov/hurricanes
FEMA. (2018). Readiness Kit. Retrieved May 30, 2018, from https:// www.fema.gov/