South Carolina may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of hurricanes, but the Palmetto State has definitely seen its share of storms. It ranks fifth on the list of states with the most hurricanes. Luckily, only five of those have been major hurricanes (i.e., Category 3 or above), but even a Category 1 hurricane can cause damage to roofs and siding.
One of the best ways to reduce your chances for this type of damage is by preparing for the Charleston, SC, hurricane season. Let’s take a look at when the hurricane season starts and how you can better prepare for a hurricane or tropical storm in Charleston.
When is hurricane season in South Carolina?
The hurricane season in South Carolina lasts from the beginning of June to the end of November. Typically, the peak months span between mid-August to mid-October, with September seeing the worst storms.
Of course, some homeowners face a greater risk of hurricane damage because of where their homes are located. For homeowners in Charleston, SC, hurricane season is usually more risky. Their county has some 90 miles of coastline, making it more likely to see hurricanes than most of the state.
Charleston, SC, hurricane season: How to prepare
Perhaps the most challenging part of preparing for hurricane season in South Carolina is getting started. Homeowners often push hurricane prep off because they’re unsure where to begin.
When in doubt, start small with a list of preparation steps so you can check items off as you go. We’ve compiled several suggestions to get you started.
Get emergency supplies
- Stock up on nonperishable foods like cans of vegetables and beans, rice, and other easily prepared items.
- Set aside money for emergencies like hotel stays, food, and other expenses.
- Don’t forget about your pets! You want to make sure you have a pet disaster preparedness plan so your furry friends have what they need if you have to evacuate.
- Store enough clean water to last you and everyone in the house a few days. You may need drinking water, but you’ll also want to be able to cook and clean.
- Check your first aid kit to see if you have enough supplies to take care of everyone in your household. While you’re at it, stock up on any prescription medications so you have them on hand during an emergency.
- Keep all of your vehicles fueled up and consider having an extra gas can filled and accessible. As the storm nears, it might also be a good idea to have a vehicle relatively packed for a quicker evacuation.
- Buy a backup generator, a fire extinguisher, and extra flashlights. Keep extra batteries with your emergency supplies.
- Find a safe, water-proof place to store all your important documents like medical information and identification documents.
While it doesn’t exactly fall in the category of “emergency supplies,” insurance is another important item to check. Make sure all your insurance policies are up to date and active, including your South Carolina homeowners policy, flood coverage, and hurricane insurance. Having solid coverage in place before a storm hits can help you recover from Charleston hurricane damage.
Plan for emergency scenarios
Another important step in getting ready for hurricane season is planning for the various emergency situations you might face during a major storm. For this step, you might want to start with scenarios within your household and work outward.
For instance, emergency services will likely be busy during a hurricane, so you want to make sure people in your household know basic first aid, how to work the fire extinguisher and other critical skills. Here are a few common emergency situations you can plan for:
- Power outages. What will you do if the power goes out? How will you cook food or charge critical electronics and other essential appliances? Get tips in our article on How to prep for a power outage.
- Communications. Do you have a way to communicate with emergency services and stay updated with the latest information during a hurricane? If not, it may be time to invest in a hand-cranked or solar-powered emergency radio.
- Medical. Does everyone in the household know how to use all the first aid equipment and other lifesaving techniques?
- Flooding. Hurricanes typically cause flooding, so knowing what to do during a flood is key to your disaster plan.
- Evacuations. Where will you go if you need to evacuate your home? Are you going to a local shelter or staying with family in a safer area? Do you have more than one route for getting to a safer location? You want to answer all of these questions and write down your plans and routes so you don’t forget in the heat of the moment.
Bonus tip: You may not have a lot of time to evacuate, so you might want to put together a grab-and-go kit with essentials, such as food, medications, and cash.
Prepare as a storm approaches
Hurricanes are one of the few catastrophes that give some warning. That means you may have some time to:
- Board up windows with shutter boards or plywood.
- Put appliances on counters or move them to the second floor.
- Secure fences, bring in patio furniture and tie down any fixtures in your yard.
- Move your vehicles into a protected area like a garage and preferably on higher ground.
- Check the evacuation zones in South Carolina. (Authorities announce evacuations based on these zones.)
Whatever you do, pay attention to the latest weather updates and emergency notifications. If you’re asking yourself, “Is Charleston, SC, being evacuated?” check the city's website. It lists Charleston evacuation plans that include evacuation zones and pick-up points for people who need transportation.
Starting your hurricane season preparation
The Charleston, SC, hurricane season might seem a long way off, but it’s really just around the corner. Now is the time to protect your home from Charleston storm damage.
We’re committed to providing quality coverage so you can have peace of mind when hurricane season rolls around. You can’t avoid the Charleston, SC, hurricane season, but you can reduce the overall stress and hardship you and your loved ones will have to endure. We can help. contact us to learn more about our house & property insurance.