All hands on deck, Charleston. Right now, Hurricane Florence is barreling towards the coast of the Carolinas at speeds of nearly 130 mph. And, as of noon tomorrow, the entire coast of South Carolina (us included) will be under a mandatory evacuation + lanes along I-26 east toward Charleston (+ U.S. 501 into Myrtle Beach) will be reversed.
This could be the first Category 4 storm to reach the Carolinas since Hugo– and the risk should not be taken lightly. But, if you haven’t already started your storm preps, don’t panic. Wind speeds aren’t expected to start picking up until Wednesday night, with landfall anticipated to occur sometime Thursday. In other words, it’s not too late– but you need to use the next few hours wisely.
We’ve compiled the most crucial resources into an intensive guide for you, our readers. Use it to plan out your evacuation, keep your pets safe, and know where to go to learn get the latest updates as soon as they come out.
Have enough water + food for your pets, and, if possible– have their vet records on hand + an ID tag on their collar. Most importantly, be prepared to take them with you– because you don’t know when you could come back, or what type of danger might occur at home.
Use the following website to help find pet-friendly accomodations while you’re on the road: PETSWELCOME | Search for pet-friendly hotels along your traveling route. Travel Pets | Directory of pet-friendly accomodations. DogFriendly.com | Dog-friendly hotels in the U.S. + Canada. PetTravel.com | Everything from airline pet policies to pet-friendly hotels– plus things you need to know about traveling with your pet.
Click here to find a checklist of more things to consider when making plans for your pooch.
Don’t forget about all of our friendly local strays. If you care for a local cat colony (or are concerned of one near you), consult thisguide for being a cat caregiver during a storm here.
Go over how to contact your person/people if you get separated, set a meeting place, and know the evacuation routes.
Safeguard your important documents + bring copies with you in a sealed ziploc bag or waterproof case (I.D., insurance card, etc.).Use this preparation toolkit for tips on how to prep for the storm– which is conveniently broken down into an hour-by-hour guide.
Use a portable radio, TV, or your cell to follow the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center, + local weather services on social media.
Twitter is a helpful resource for getting down-to-the-minute, detailed updates regarding the storm. Here are some helpful accounts to follow:
We’ve compiled a list on Twitter of the above accounts as well as others worth following. It can be used as an active timeline for tracking everything happening in our area the moment it occurs. Find it here. Note: a Twitter account is not required to view the list.
Check your evacuation zone here. Find your nearest evacuation route here.
Watch any of our local stations or listen to local radio for a running list of school, business, + church closures. Or look for a running list online, like the one here.
The State Newspaper is offering full access to its website for all during the storm. The Post + Courier has also removed its paywall for all news stories throughout the duration of the storm. Meaning, even if you aren’t a subscriber, you should be able to access their weather coverage.
Follow main road conditions (crashes + road closures) via the South Carolina Highway Patrol’s CAD website here (select troop 6 for our area). Check traffic via the SCDOT interstate cameras here.
Make sure to follow your local municipality on social media for the latest closures as well as announcements on where to find supplies like water, sandbags, etc.
Counties:Charleston CountyBerkeley CountyDorchester County
Other local municipalitiesCity of CharlestonNorth Charleston GovernmentTown of Mount PleasantTown of James IslandTown of Sullivan’s IslandJohn’s Island Fire DistrictCity of Isle of PalmsTown of James IslandTown of Kiawah IslandCity of Goose CreekCity of HanahanCaromi Volunteer Fire Department (Ladson, SC)Town of SummervilleTown of Moncks Corner
Find the following for free in your app store:
Charleston Harbor Tide Gage | Tide times + conditions.Charleston Business Community Checklist | A checklist to help you prepare for a hurricane’s effect on your business, employees, and community. The list highlights the activities you should undertake before, during, and following the event.Charleston Hurricane History | Learn more about the hurricanes that have wrought the most havoc on Charleston– and what you can do to stay safe in the case of another disaster.The Waffle House Index | FEMA informally looks at Waffle House operations to assess the severity of natural disasters– as they typically stay open during calamities.Bus Evacuation System | Information regarding evacuation options for those who don’t have cars.
Charleston’s Citizen Line: 843-746-3900 | Call to have any questions answered regarding Florence.North Charleston Citizen Information Line: 843-740-2800 | Ask questions about Florence. Open 24/7.Red Cross: 1-800-RED CROSS | For immediate assistance regarding shelters, etc.Coast Guard: 843-740-7050 | Derelict boats/watercraft.SCE&G: 1-888-333-4465 | Downed power lines + outages.SCE&G: 1-800-815-0083 | Gas leaks.Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch: 843-743-7200 | Non-emergency concerns.
Of course, any emergencies, downed trees, fires, etc. should be reported to 911. If you are unable to dial 911, you can also text your concerns to 911 or submit them via web on 911helpme.com.
Shoutout to all the first responders, journalists, grocers, + civic employees who are working around the clock to keep us all safe, prepared, + informed. Hurricane prep is truly a team effort.
Here’s how to do your part: think of neighbors, relatives, etc. who are elderly or living with disabilities and may not be able to prepare for the storm independently. Reach out to them and see how you can help.
Stay safe, Charleston.
– The CHStoday teamSource: @CHStoday #chstoday
Hurricane season is around the corner! Here are five ways to waterproof your home in one weekend:
Nobody likes to clean or repair gutters. However, there are a few ways to make the job easier. First, for clogged downspouts, try using barbecuetongs to reach in and pull the leaves out. This doesn't always work but considering the alternative -- using a hose to flush the clog out, getting wet and covered with gutter goop -- it's worth a try.
Second, to repair loose gutter nails try replacing them with extra-long lag screws. The lag screws tend to be stronger, hold better and can easily be installed with a cordless drill equipped with a nut driver bit.
Concrete always cracks, but that doesn't mean you have to live with it that way. For most cracks less than 1/4", applying concrete caulk is a good way to make repairs. Just clean the crack out with a high-pressure hose nozzle, let it dry and then apply the caulk into the crack.
For larger cracks, substitute concrete patch for caulk. Large cracks or small, repair is necessary because water that finds its way into cracks will soften the ground underneath and cause more cracking. The situation worsens if the water freezes.
With all the wet weather that spring brings, wooden windows and doors can't help but swell and stick. To repair a sticky door or window, first mark where it is sticking. Next, remove the door or window by taking out its hinge pins, prop it up securely and with a hand plane, carefully remove any excess material. Power planes will work, too, but there is a tendency to remove too much. When the wood shrinks back during the drier, warmer days of summer, the gap will be too wide.
For sliding windows, often the trim around them is the culprit and must be removed and reinstalled to allow for more movement. To do this, carefully remove the trim with a flat bar and pull the nails out backwards that is, grasp the nail point with pliers and pull. If the trim was installed properly with finishing nails, you should be able to do this without damaging the wood. When reinstalling, keep the fit snug but not as tight as it was. If you reinstall the trim too loosely, the windows will rattle when the wood shrinks again.
To keep windows and doors from sticking in the first place, make sure that they are sealed with a good coat of paint, including the tops and bottoms. But dont paint the channels where windows need to slide. Instead, use a light coat of linseed oil as a sealer.
The problem with water stains is that painting over them will not make them go away unless you use a primer-sealer first. When looking for a sealer, follow these basic guidelines: First, oil-based sealers usually work better than water-based. Second, choose a sealer that has a high amount of solids. Solids consist of pigments and other elements that do the actual covering of the stain. Paint, hardware and home centers carry primer-sealers (sometimes called sealer-primers) such as Kilz and Zinsser.
One other tip when using an oil-based sealer, consider using disposable brushes and rollers. Cleaning up after using oil-based products can be messy and often requires that you spend more on paint thinner than your brushes and rollers are worth.
It used to be that the only way to do a good paint job over rust was to get out the naval jelly or wire brush and remove the rust first. Thankfully, paint additives are now available to help paint stick to rust while also neutralizing the rust and stopping corrosion from continuing under the paint.
If left untreated, rust will eventually cause your fixtures to lock up. Prevent this by keeping fixtures well lubricated. One of the most common mistakes people make is trying to lubricate outdoor fixtures with light oil or silicon from spray cans. Because these oils are so light, they often evaporate and/or dilute existing lubrication thereby making the problem worse. For fixtures like gate hinges and latches, use heavy grease. It will not evaporate and its heavy viscosity is the best thing for heavy-duty parts. Most auto parts stores have heavy grease.Source: Realtor.com
While the Charleston heat is a completely valid excuse for not leaving your apartment all day– Fido probably thinks otherwise and would prefer to retrieve a ball that isn’t thrown three feet from the couch (although he could do it all day long + be just as content).
Luckily, there are a plethora of pup parks, situated all across the Lowcountry. But before you grab Buddy’s leash, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure a safe + enjoyable experience for both you, and your furry friend.
Here is some basic ‘petiquette’ that any dog owner should know before entering a dog park: Make sure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations. This is a preventative measure that most dog parks require. Stay with your dog at all times, and never leave them unattended. Occasionally, things can get a littleruff. Bring a tennis ball or frisbee (my pooch’s toy of choice), some extra water, and maybe a towel or two in case of muddy paws. Make sure to always clean up after your pet to avoid any angry looks from other owners… and smelly shoes. Check that the park you’re visiting has plenty of shade + that water stations are available. If the temps are too high– save the park for a cooler day. Know the signs of heat stroke– like excessive panting, excessive drooling, dehydration, + rapid heart rate. If you are concerned that your pet might be suffering from heat-related illness– get him/her out of the heat + call your vet immediately.
Read on below to see where you and your four-legged friend can have some doggone fun
Hampton Dog Park Run30 Mary Murray Dr. Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset free Offers shade, benches, a water station, plus bags + waste stations Some holes are present in the park– so watch your step
Hazel Parker Playground70 E. Bay St. Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset free Offers shade, benches, a water station, plus bags + waste stations Off-leash is limited to before 9 a.m. + after 6 p.m. during spring through early fall
Wannamaker County Park8888 University Blvd., North Charleston Mon. 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. // Tues.- Sun., 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. $2 park admission Offers large + small dog areas, shade, and a water station Bring your pup to the Dog Day afternoon at the waterpark on Sept. 9, from 12-5 pm. $12 in advance, $15 at the gate.
Riverfront Park1001 Everglades Ave., North Charleston Mon.- Sun., 6 a.m.- 10 p.m. free The park is fully fenced + near the playground (so if your pup is anti-kid, it’s probably not the best place for them to relax + play) No separation for big + little dogs
Palmetto Island County Park444 Needlerush Pkwy., Mt. Pleasant Mon.- Sun., 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. (opens at 9 a.m on Wednesdays) $2 park admission Offers large + small dog areas, shade, benches, a water station, plus bags + waste stations Bring your pup to the Dog Day afternoon at the waterpark on Sept. 8, either from 10 a.m.- 12 p.m., or from1-3 p.m. $8 in advance, $10 at the gate.
Rifle Range Dog Park1559 Rifle Range Rd. Mt. Pleasant Sunrise to sunset free Offers large + small dog areas, a water station, + waste bags Shade is limited + bug spray is a must
Ackerman Park55 Sycamore Ave., West Ashley Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset free Offers large + small dogs areas, shade, + a water station There’s a bulletin board for postings about pet sitters, groomers, lost dogs, etc.
Bees Landing Recreation Complex1590 Ashley Garden Blvd., West Ashley Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset free Offers large + small dog areas, shade, benches, plus a water station + cleaning station Three gated sections: sunny, shaded, + wetlands (muddy paws are expected)
Lenevar Park1305 Lenevar Drive South, West Ashley Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset free Great space for off-leash exercise Jog on the trail around the park with your pup on-leash
James Island County Park871 Riverland Dr., James Island Mon.- Sun., 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. $2 park admission Boasts a dog beach, four-acres of grass to roam with shaded areas, cleaning station, small dog area, plus bags + waste stations Bring towels for the car ride home so the pups can wash off in the cleaning station
Wassamassaw Community Park651 Wassamassaw Rd., Summerville Mon.- Sun., 7:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. free Offers large + small dog areas Restrooms + playground nearby
Bark Park Dog Park29th Ave & Lauden Blvd., Isle of Palms Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset // Closed Wednesdays 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. for cleaning free Offers large + small dog areas, shade, benches, a water station, toys, plus bags + waste stations No children under 13 allowed in dog park
Governor’s Park Dog Run145 Seven Farms Dr., Daniel Island Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset free Offers large + small dog areas, shade, benches, water stations, plus bags + waste stations Tennis balls are abundant– so don’t worry if you’ve forgotten yours
Other pet-friendly parks to consider: Brittlebank Park (dogs must be leashed at all times), Cannon Park,Horselot, White Point Garden (dogs must be leashed at all times), Freedom Park, West Ashley Park (dogs must be leashed at all times), + Johns Island Park. Note that these are open areas for all to enjoy.
Personally, my favorite place to take my pup (featured below) is IOP or Sullivan’s Island. However, Charleston has some pretty strict beach rules regarding dogs, so take a glance at our beach guide before heading out.
Whether we’re headed to a patch of grass or a sand dune, Huck is just excited to get outside + play with his frisbee.
.1. Know Your Body's Best Cooling Points:If you’re stuck in the heat and can’t find get to a cooler place, know your body’s best cooling points, e.g., your wrist and neck. By applying a ice cubes wrapped in a towel (or any other cold object) to these pulse points, you’ll cool down more quickly and effectively.2. Stay Cool While You SleepSummer heat is worst when you’re trying to get some shuteye, because a higher body temperature makes it harder to fall asleep. If you feel like an insomniac in summer, cool your head with a special pillow like the Chillow, sleep on top of a wet sheet (aka the “Egyptian method”), or try one of these other strategies in our cool sleeping guide or this infographic.3. Cool Your Car Down QuicklyThis Japanese trick will get your oven-like car closer to bearable temperature. Roll down one window and open and close the opposite door a few times to cool that car down.4. Optimize Your WindowsYou might not need to run your air conditioner if you pay a little more attention to your windows in the summer. Close the windows and use insulated drapes to keep the sun out during the day and open them at night when the sun is down. You can also hang a damp towel in front of the window to cool the air flowing into your home and open opposing windows or windows on the top and bottom floors for maximum air flow.5. Exercise Comfortably, Even in the HeatJust because it’s hot out doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising. You can get used to exercising in the heat and use common sense strategies such as switching to water sports, avoiding the sun when it’s strongest, and exercising in short bursts. Precooling techniques can also prevent you from overheating when you work out in hot weather.
6. Keep Your Food Cool and Avoid Using the OvenSummer might be a great time to eat outdoors, but some foods and drinks aren’t that enjoyable when heated by the sun. You can make a zeer pot(aka evaporative cooler) for your food and drinks with just two containers or create ice blocks for your cooler using old milk cartons. When it’s too hot to cook, consider making cold soups, relying on electrical appliances like the versatile rice cooker, or try these “no-cook” or “oven-free” recipe ideas.7. Optimize Your FansDid you know that if you face your fan out, rather than in at night, your room will stay cooler and you might be able to sleep more comfortably? Day or night, you can use a temperature controller (or build one yourself) to automatically turn the fan on or off based on the temperature and save your energy—literally. If you have a ceiling fan, run it counter-clockwise(the “summer” higher-speed setting) for optimum cooling.8. Keep Excessive Sweat at BayFor many of us, sweat-inducing humidity is the worst part of summer. Even if you don’t have excessive sweat issues, you can get the sweating under control with a few tricks, like applying antiperspirant at night so it works more effectively and wearing breathable clothing materials, such as cotton.9. Drink More Water
You know how important it is to stay hydrated all year round. When you’re sweating a lot, either because of exercise or the summer heat, drinking enough water becomes even more important. As the CDC suggests, think of your body like an air conditioner:
Whenever your body heats up from physical activity or the hot weather outside, your internal air conditioner turns on and you begin to sweat. And remember, now that your air conditioner is using its coolant (your sweat), it is important to refill the tank — by drinking lots of H2O.
As with other hydration myths, water isn’t your only option, but it’s free and easily accessible for most of us. Even if you have to trick yourself into drink more water and learn to love the taste of it, you’ll be much more comfortable if you keep refilling your water glass.Source: lifehacker.com
1. Salvage broken umbrellas with enameled wire
Buy some enameled wire at a hardware store and cut off a 6-inch piece. Match up the rivet holes of the broken stretcher pieces, and insert the wire through the holes. Wrap it around and keep wrapping and threading the wire through the hole until there's no more room. Twist the wire ends together and trim.
2. Carry a supply of dry plastic grocery bags.
Most people probably have dozens of these stuffed in a cupboard or drawer somewhere. Grab a handful and keep them in your jacket pocket or purse when you're out and about – keep your wet umbrella in them and keep wet clothes and shoes separated in them.
3. You stay drier by running, not walking in the rain.
Seems like a no-brainer, but there has been some debate over whether walking leaves your body less exposed to raindrops, or running simply gets you out of the rain faster.
Of course, there are safety concerns about running on wet and slippery surfaces, so this is NOT a recommendation, simply a statement of fact!
4. Silence noisy rain gutters with some rope
This tip comes from LifeHacker.com, citing a tip from the Family Handyman:
Caulk around the gutter drain and install a length of nylon or poly rope (Figure A). The water will wick down the rope instead of free-falling and hitting the elbow.
5. Put wet devices in a bag of rice
Everyone should know this old trick by now – whether you dropped your phone in the toilet, or left your tablet in the rain, if you turn it off and put it in a bag of rice as quickly as possible, the rice will absorb the moisture and there's a chance you can salvage it.
Leave the device in the bag for 24-48 hours before trying to turn it on again.
6. Pack a pair of back-up socks
No matter how lightly you tread, there's always a chance you'll step into a puddle. Don't let it ruin your day – break out that pair of back-up socks you had the foresight to bring along and your feet will thank you!
7. Review the AAA's guide for wet-weather driving techniques.
We all complain about other drivers, especially in poor driving conditions. Make sure you know how to get out of a skid, avoid hydroplaning, get out of a muddy spot, and generally drive safely in wet weather conditions. Check out AAA's comprehensive guide here: http://exchange.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Get-a-Grip.pdf