Residents urged to prepare for hurricanes

  • Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Clayton Stairs/South Strand News Randy Webster, director of Horry County Emergency Management and Sam Hodge, director of the Georgetown County Emergency Management let people know about evacuation zones and preparations for hurricanes.

Do you know your hurricane evacuation zone?

Do you have a plan for your family if your zone is evacuated for a large storm?

These questions and more were posed during the eighth annual Hurricane Preparation meeting at St. Michael Catholic Church in Garden City.

Ed Piotrowski, meteorologist for News Channel 15, told attendees that although this coming hurricane season is expected to be quieter than a normal season, “it only takes one storm to hit your area to make it a really bad hurricane season.”

He said Sept. 10 is the peak of the hurricane season, which runs from June to November.

“History tells us that big ones do hit the South Carolina coast,” Piotrowski said.

“It can happen again. We just don’t know when.”

He said a hurricane’s destructive forces include storm surge, strong winds, heavy rains and tornadoes.

The one that has the most potential for destruction and loss of human life is the storm surge, which is water pushed by the storm.

And he said that many times the damage has less to do with the category of the hurricane than how fast the storm is moving, its size and its trajectory when it hits the coast.

“A slower moving storm equals more rain,” Piotrowski said. “Rainfall is proportional to the speed of the system.”

He said during some hurricanes, rainfall has been measured up to 20 inches in 12 hours and has caused drastic flooding and widespread drowning.

Also speaking during the event were Sam Hodge, director of the Georgetown County Emergency Management, and Randy Webster, director of Horry County Emergency Management.

They said residents should know in which evacuation zone their home is located and what to expect if a storm does come.

It is also important to have a hurricane kit ready with supplies that will last for three to five days without electricity and to know your evacuation route.

Information for kits can be found on the Red Cross website at www.redcross.org, they said, and there are free apps available for handheld devices.

For evacuation routes, Webster said anyone leaving from or south of Atlantic Avenue at U.S. Route 17 in Garden City would be directed south through Georgetown and Andrews and people leaving north of that area would go north to S.C. Hwy 544.

Know your zone

Georgetown County

Zone A – Areas East of U.S. 17 to the Atlantic Ocean from the South Santee River and North to the Horry County line, including Sandy Island; areas East of Dawhoo Lake and South of Walker Road and Powell Road to the South Santee River; all low-lying areas along the Waccamaw River, Great Pee Dee River, Black River, and Sampit River South of U.S. 17 A, including Maryville; and all mobile home residents in the county.

Zone B – Areas East of Dawhoo Lake and South of Walker Road to Powell Road to the South Santee River; all areas on the Atlantic Ocean side of Powell Road to U.S. 17 A to U.S. Route 521 to Brick Chimney Road to State Hwy. 51 to Black River Road ending at the Black River; all low-lying areas along the Waccamaw River, Great Pee Dee River, and Black River, and all areas East of them to the coast; and all mobile home residents in the County.

Zone C – Areas East of Dawhoo Lake and South of Walker Road to Powell Road to the South Santee River; all areas on the Atlantic Ocean side of Powell Road to U.S. 17 A to U.S.521 to Sawmill Road to Indian Hut Road to Carvers Bay Road (State Hwy S-22-4) to Plantation Hill Road (S.C. Hwy 261) to Old Pee Dee Road to the Northern County Line; and all mobile home residents in the County.

Horry County

Zone A – All areas east of U.S. 17 Business (Kings Hwy), up to intersection with U.S. 17 and all areas east of U.S. 17 to the Northern county line.

Zone B – All areas south of S.C. Hwy 707 and Longwood Drive, including all areas in Longwood Plantation (Blackmoor) to the Waccamaw River and all areas east of U.S. 17 Bypass (Mark Garner Hwy) to U.S. 17 (North Kings Hwy) and all areas east of U.S. 17 (North Kings Hwy) to the northern county line.

Zone C – All areas between U.S. Route 701 and S.C. 544, south of Brown’s Chapel Avenue and Hwy 814, plus all areas east of S.C. Hwy 31 (Carolina Bays Parkway) to Hwy 90 and all areas east of Hwy 90 to U.S. 17 to the northern county line.

This also includes all flood prone areas along the Waccamaw River and the Great and Little Pee Dee Rivers, as well as all mobile home residents within Horry County.

Hodge and Webster told attendees that Zone A will be evacuated first and every time an evacuation is called by the governor.

They also stressed that if an evacuation is called for your zone and any residents decide to stay, emergency workers will not come to help if there is a problem.

For more information or to see maps of the evacuation zones, visit http://www.georgetowncountysc.org/emergency_management/docs/GeorgetownCountyEvacuationZones.pdf or http://emd.horrycounty.org/.

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