Hurricane season can be an uneasy and scary time for people living in Murrells Inlet and near the coast. Whether this hurricane season is your first hurricane season or you have been through many hurricane seasons, use the hurricane season resources found on this page to help you prepare for hurricane season.
General Hurricane Information
Hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through November 30. Our area tends to see the most tropical storm and hurricane activity in September and October.
Hurricanes are classified as Category 1-5. The category describes the strength of the storm and the property damage expected with 1 being the weakest and 5 being the strongest. In a Category 1 storm, winds are generally 74-95 mph while a Category 5 storms can have winds over 156 mph.
One of our local news stations, WMBF, has a great page on their website that describes the different categories.
Get Your Information from a Reliable Source
When a hurricane is approaching our area, you will hear all kinds of information from local sources, national sources and your friends and family outside the area that have your best interests at heart but may not have the most up-to-date information. Where should you get information about a storm approaching our area? The best places to get information are the local news stations, the local and state emergency management services, local government agencies and local police stations.
The list below gives you some of my favorite local and state hurricane season resources. I also follow these groups on social media and have their apps downloaded (if they have one) so I can get local information even if I leave town.
- Horry County Emergency Management Division
- Georgetown County Emergency Management Division
- SC Emergency Management Division
Staying During a Hurricane
Staying during a hurricane is a personal decision and should be guided my reliable information and your specific situation.
Depending on the severity of the hurricane, you may be without power for a few hours to several days.
- Have several days of non-perishable food and water on hand for everyone in your household including pets. Fill your cooler with ice to keep some water cold.
- Use your grill if you need to heat up food. Of course, only use the grill after the storm passes.
- Wash your clothes a few days prior to the hurricane making landfall in case you are without power for an extended amount of time.
- Have candles, flashlights, a battery powered radio on hand.
- Have cash on hand in case power is out and ATMs or registers are down.
- Have some books, magazines or games ready to keep yourself and kids entertained.
- Fill your tub with water to use to flush toilets if there are issue with the water company.
- Have one person outside your area designated as your point of contact. Your friends and family will want to know how you are doing. If it’s hard to get a cell signal or your cell phone battery is running low, it’s easier to update one person.
- Move patio furniture, decorations and anything that could become a projectile inside during the hurricane.
- If you board up your windows, do not board up one window or door so you can get out in case of an emergency.
- Scan your important documents and save those to your email or cloud storage so you have easy access. Also add your insurance agent’s phone number and email to your phone.
Evacuating During a Hurricane
Because the path of the hurricane can change, decisions have to be made at the last minute. This is why having a plan is important. Here are some tips to help you plan if you do decide to evacuate.
Know Your Evacuation Zone and Route
Horry and Georgetown Counties divide their coastal areas into evacuation zones…zones A, B and C. It is important to remember that not all parts of each county are in an evacuation zone. Also, evacuation zones are determined by storm surge and not wind. You may be in a western part of our area and not be in an evacuation zone but feel the effects of hurricane force winds. You can always evacuate during a hurricane even if your zone is not told to evacuate.
- Horry County Evacuation Zone Information
- Horry County Interactive Map
- Georgetown County Evacuation Zone Information
Knowing your evacuation route (how you will leave town) is just as important as knowing your evacuation zone. Both Horry and Georgetown Counties have information about evacuation routes on their respective county websites. The sites show how you need to leave the coastal areas based on your location.
Evacuation routes were created so everyone is not using the same main roads to leave town causing a bottleneck. I used backroads the last time I evacuated for a hurricane and did not run into any traffic while friends used Hwy. 501 and got tied up in traffic for hours. Definitely review your evacuation route prior to a hurricane and consider driving it once to get familiar with how you will leave town.
Know Where You are Going to Stay
Once you get out of town, you need a place to stay. The easiest thing to do is stay with a friend or family member that lives inland a few hours away. The other option is to find a hotel. Hotels can be tricky because they do fill up quickly especially if people from other states are also having to evacuate. You may find that you may have to stay farther away than you initially thought. I have had friends stay in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia or even farther away when they evacuated.
The last option when you need to evacuate are local shelters. Space at the shelters will be limited and the accommodations will not be as comfortable as you would find at a hotel or friend or family members’ home. Also, you will not be able to bring pets to most hurricane shelters.
Things to Take with You
When evacuating town, you will need to have some supplies on hand. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it will give you a place to start.
- Snacks and water for anyone leaving and pets. The trip out of town will take longer than normal and having a snack can help.
- A full tank of gas – Gas stations will be busier than normal or they could run out of gas. You may have to try a few before you can fill up.
- Cash – Depending on the severity of the storm, ATMs or banks may be closed or credit card machines could be down once you return to town.
- Important papers – Take hard copies or electronic copies of your homeowners’ insurance policy and flood policy.
- Prescription medicine – Have any medicine you (and your pet) will need to be out of town for the length of your evacuation plus several days when you get back.
- Key to your home – It sounds crazy, but most of us use our garage to get into our house versus coming in through the front door. If the power goes out, you will not be able to use your remote control to get into your garage. Don’t rely on the keypad on your front door either. You know that would be the time the battery died!
Steps to Take When You Have Hurricane Damage to Your Home
The last thing anyone wants to deal with is damage from a hurricane. To help you through the process of getting whole again, here are five steps to take when you have hurricane damage to your home.
Keep a Hard Copy of Your Insurance Policy
First, keep a hard copy of your insurance policy. If you have listened to my videos or been a client of mine, I preach keeping multiple copies of your insurance policy on hand. As much as I personally love keeping everything online, having a physical, hard copy of your insurance policy is a great idea. When a hurricane hits an area, the power most likely will be out for at least a little while. You may not be able to access your policy information if you have everything online and the batteries on your devices die.
Stop any Further Damage
Second, stop any further damage to your home. As soon as it is safe to do so, take steps that you can to prevent further damage to your home. Actions to prevent further damage could include tarping your roof or boarding windows. Most importantly, wait until the storm passes to make these repairs. Do not try to make repairs during a storm.
Call Your Insurance Agent
Once the storm passes, call your insurance agent to discuss filing a claim. Depending on your deductible and the amount of damage, you may not need to file a claim. Should you have to file a claim, your agent can guide you through the claims process and answer any questions you may have.
Take Pictures of any Damage
Document any damage to your home and any steps you took to prevent further damage. You can do this by either taking pictures or a video and providing those to the insurance adjuster. Make a list of any personal property (TVs, appliances, computers, etc.) that was damaged in the storm as well.
Getting your property whole again could take weeks, months or even years if you have extensive damage. Keep a record of everything including conversations with your insurance company and insurance adjuster, receipts for items you replaced, invoices and estimates from contractors and receipts for hotel stays. You may need to refer back to this information and having it in one place will be helpful.
I hope these hurricane season resources will help you make informed decisions during hurricane season. To view all of my hurricane related videos, visit the Preparing for a Hurricane playlist on my YouTube Channel.