Joint Base Charleston Real Estate

Your ultimate guide for staying safe + in-the-know when Florence arrives

Satellite image of Hurricane Florence | Photo via the @NOAA

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.

Some important points to consider:

  • The National Hurricane Center (NHC) releases updates every six hours: at 5 a.m., 11 a.m., 5 p.m., + 11 p.m. Look out for the latest information at those times.
  • You will likely see local + state emergency operations centers refer to their storm response using a ranking system called OPCONOPCON 5= normal operations. OPCON 1= an emergency situation is in effect + a full-fledged response is underway.
  • Know the difference between a hurricane watch + a hurricane warning. Watchconditions are a threat within 48 hoursvs. Warningconditions are expected within 36 hours.
  • The ‘cone of uncertainty’ represents the probable path of a storm. It is important to remember that even if Charleston isn’t inside the cone, hazardous conditions could still occur here.

We’ve compiled the most crucial resources into an intensive guide for you, our readers. Use it to plan out your evacuationkeep your pets safe, and know where to go to learn get the latest updates as soon as they come out.

? Build or replenish your emergency kit.

  • At least one gallon of water per person per dayPro tip: in case water service is cut off, fill up your bathtub prior to the storm.  
  • At least three days worth of non-perishable + easy to prepare food (canned soups + veggies, dried meats + fruits, crackers, granola bars, peanut butter, etc.
  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Extra cash
  • A multipurpose tool (like a can opener or Swiss Army Knife)
  • Portable generator
  • Batteries
  • Portable chargers (make sure all laptops, phones, iPads, etc. are fully charged)

?? ?? Prepare your pets.

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.
?? | Dog-friendly hotels in the U.S. + Canada.
?? | 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.

?? Have a plan.

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.

?? Stay informed.

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 occursFind it hereNote: 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 stormMeaning, 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.

Charleston County
Berkeley County
Dorchester County

Other local municipalities
City of Charleston
North Charleston Government
Town of Mount Pleasant
Town of James Island
Town of Sullivan’s Island
John’s Island Fire District
City of Isle of Palms
Town of James Island
Town of Kiawah Island
City of Goose Creek
City of Hanahan
Caromi Volunteer Fire Department (Ladson, SC)
Town of Summerville
Town of Moncks Corner

??Stay in-the-know by downloading weather + emergency management apps.

Find the following for free in your app store:

  • Charleston County Emergency Management Department Receive information related to emergencies including hurricane shelter openings + locations, neighborhood distribution point information, daily weather reports, emergency contact numbers, + more.
  • SC Emergency Manager | Evacuation zones, closings, + delays.
  • AccuWeather: Weather Widget | Alerts, forecasts, + animated radar maps.
  • Tides Near Me | Tide times + conditions.
  • First Aid and Pet First Aid | Expert advice for everyday emergencies– protecting you and your pet. Includes videos and simple step-by-step advice.
  • Hurricane: American Red Cross Real-time, local alerts for severe weather + hazards, including: earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, flood, tsunamis, winter storms, thunderstorms, extreme heat, wildfires, + more.
  • GasBuddy | Real-time fuel price information, plus station locations.
  • Waze Carpool | Find other individuals to carpool with.

?? Some additional links you may want to bookmark:

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.

?? Write down these important phone numbers.

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


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 team

Source: @CHStoday #chstoday

Posted by Jodie Ford on September 11th, 2018 1:22 PM


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