MYRTLE BEACH/FLORENCE/LUMBERTON (WBTW) – We are now officially in hurricane season. Below is information designed to help keep you and your family safe before the next dangerous storm arrives.
Before the storm
The American Red Cross encourages you to assemble an emergency preparedness kit that includes the following:
- Water (one gallon per person, per day)
- Food (non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, insurance policies, etc.)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map of the area
The Red Cross has provided a list of additional items you should consider for your emergency preparedness kit.
You should also create a household evacuation plan that includes your pets.
The ASPCA has a complete list of steps you can take ahead of time to make sure your pets are safe when a storm does arrive.
FEMA has a full list of other hurricane preparations, both for you and your property, on their website.
For your home, the Red Cross suggests you:
- Protect windows with permanent storm shutters or invest in one-half inch marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and windows
- Identify a place to store lawn furniture, trash cans, etc. to prevent them from being moved by wind and possibly injuring someone
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts to prevent flooding and unnecessary pressure on the awnings
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offers these tips for protecting your home from hurricanes:
- Reduce flying debris (cutting weak tree branches, securing weak or loose fencing, etc.)
- Consider stronger windows and exterior doors
- Install hardware for shutters
- Inspect and repair your roof
- Check caulking
- Inspect carports and other attached structures
- Check sump pumps
- Prep generator
- Create a home inventory
IBHS also recommends you close all interior doors ahead of a hurricane, to reduce damage risks. Here’s why.
FEMA provides flood insurance information here.
For hurricane updates throughout the season, head to the Hurricane Center section of our website.
You can also watch us live when we’re on the air, through our online livestream. If you lose power or temporarily are relocated to a shelter or a relative’s home, you can still access the link.
During the storm
Here are some of the tips the Red Cross has for you to stay safe during a hurricane:
- Stay indoors
- Don’t walk or swim in floodwaters; floodwaters may be contaminated with sewage or contain dangerous insects or animals
- Use flashlights if the power goes out, NOT candles
- Listen to local TV stations, radio, or NOAA radio for the latest information and updates about storms
- Turn off the power and water mains if told to do so by local authorities
- Don’t drive through floodwater; just six inches of fast-flowing water can known you over; two feet will float a car
*Never use a generator inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.*
Generator mishaps result in 66 deaths each year, on average, according to Consumer Reports. During Hurricane Florence, a Loris couple died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator used in a home.
Additional information about generator safety is available here, from the Red Cross.
You should report power outages immediately, although it may take hours or even days to restore power to your home or business.
Report an outage with Duke Energy by clicking here, or call 800-419-6356. To view the current outage map in the Carolinas, for Duke Energy, click here. For information on how Duke Energy restores power, check out this link.
Pee Dee Electric Cooperative customers should report outages to 843-665-4070 or 866-747-0060. Here is additional information about power restoration from Pee Dee Electric.
After the storm
Just because the hurricane has passed does not mean all is clear and the threat is over.
Stay alert for subsequent flooding. Flood safety information is available here.
Individual disaster assistance information from FEMA is available here.
For a complete guide on what to do before, during and after a hurricane, click here for information from the Red Cross.
Hurricane Florence made landfall in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina in mid-September before moving through South Carolina.
In the weeks after the storm, flooding became a major problem in the Myrtle Beach-Florence-Lumberton area.
A National Hurricane Center report says Florence killed 22 people across three states and was also responsible for 30 indirect deaths (classified as those resulting from heart attacks, house fires, electrocutions and traffic accidents).
Damages from Florence were estimated at $24 billion, making it the ninth most destructive storm in terms of property damage in U.S. history.
2019 Atlantic hurricane season outlook
In late May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season.
But as Stormtracker13 Chief Meteorologist Frank Johnson points out, it only takes one hurricane to cause major problems. So, be safe and stay with News13 throughout the season for update on potential hurricanes.