From The Blog
Atlantic Hurricane Season Gets Underway June 1
Hurricane season begins on Tuesday, June 1. Another above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. However, experts do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.
Due to its position on the coast, South Carolina and the Lowcounty in particular have seen their share of hurricanes over the years. You can view a stunning map of those storms at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SC DNR) State Climate Office website. Though we haven’t seen a major landfall recently, South Carolina saw effects from eight tropical systems in 2020, an extraordinary year for the storms.
Planning for Hurricane Season
The beginning of the season is a time to think about what the possible needs are, both for members and the association. Each year, in advance of hurricane season, KICA’s departments review the association’s plan. KICA also contracts in advance with an emergency clean-up company. The communications team ensures that the text and email alert systems have our most recent contact information for members.
In the Event of a Storm
Kiawah entities monitor each storm that appears. Based on guidance from the SC Emergency Management Division (SCEMD), an emergency operations protocol may be put in place. Once that protocol is in place, island entities join a daily call with SCEMD and other area municipalities. The Town of Kiawah Island takes the lead in an emergency. Look for communications from the town, but KICA will also make that information available to members through its communication channels. All island entities work together during a storm. This way, entities have the most up to date information on area conditions.
Prior to the storm’s approach, island access will be limited. Based on the storm’s likely timetable and strength, the island may be closed for entry. Sheriff’s deputies will stop and turn back anyone attempting to access the island. KICA’s Security team may leave if it is not safe for staff to remain on the island.
After a Storm
After a storm has passed and the governor has lifted the evacuation order, the mayor must give the order allowing property owners to return. The mayor will conduct a damage assessment of the island and, if it is deemed safe to return, will set a time for members to return. The town and KICA will send out information on when members can return to the island, along with a general damage assessment. At this time, KICA’s security staff will return to the island, followed by the land management team. Island clean-up begins prior to members returning to ensure a safe environment. KICA’s emergency response crews will be on the island, assisting the land management department with debris. The town facilitates debris removal.
The Lowcountry community has seen a number of storm events over the last few years. Just last September, the island narrowly escaped impacts from Hurricane Dorian, as it skirted the coastline.The greatest frequency of storms tends to occur from August 15 to October 15 in our area. Now is the time to get prepared in advance.
Don’t wait to start your preparations for Atlantic hurricane season. The more prepared you are, the safer you and your family will be. The tips below will help you get started.
Prepare for the season
- Sign up for communications – KICA and the Town of Kiawah Island work together to provide the important information you need during a storm event. To sign up for Town of Kiawah Island emails or weather alerts through CodeRed, visit www.kiawahisland.org/disaster-preparedness/.
- Make sure your contact information is up to date. If you’ve recently changed your email address or phone number, email your updated information to [email protected].
- Make a plan. This is a good time to solidify what you and your family will do in the event of a storm. Make plans for things like how you will evacuate and where you will go. Consider the care of any pets as well. Two websites to help with your hurricane plan are the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (www.scemd.org/) and the National Weather Service (www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane).
- This is a good time to check shutters and generators to see if repairs or service are needed. Check insurance policies to make sure they are active and verify your coverages.
In the Event of a Storm
- Stay informed. Visit trusted news sources, such as the National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center, and local news sources, such as the Post and Courier, for information.
- Know your evacuation zone. Kiawah is in Zone A. If an evacuation is issued, the state will use these zones to evacuate the areas most likely to see landfall first.
- If an evacuation order is issued, you will generally have some time to prepare. If you have contractors working on your home, they will likely have time to clean up the job site. This is the time to have your shutters closed or your home boarded up. Due to the high winds that tropical systems can bring, it’s best to remove anything that may be blown onto another property.
- Please keep in mind that during an evacuation, the state reverses lanes on state highways to get people away from the coast as efficiently as possible. This can affect travel plans if you wait until the evacuation is in effect to leave.
After a Storm
- Wait until the all-clear is given to attempt to return to the island. Prior to that time, anyone attempting to access the island will be stopped by sheriff’s deputies.
- KICA’s member services team will attempt to notify members whose property has sustained damage. However, damage can be difficult to ascertain from a distance. Please have a property manager, friend or neighbor look at your property to confirm you have no damage if you are unable to return to the island.