From The Blog
Hurricane Season Preparedness
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. The highest frequency of storms typically occurs from August to October. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year.
Property owners should prepare for the season by reviewing their hurricane plans and local emergency procedures. Provided below are resources and information to help you prepare and be informed.
Guides (Printed copies available at the Municipal Center)
Emergency Operations Procedures
The National Weather Service’s Charleston office identifies all storms that present a danger to the area and alerts the Charleston County Emergency Management Division (EMD). When a threat is imminent, the EMD activates the County Emergency Operations Center and conducts daily Tri-County conference calls with emergency response agencies and jurisdictions. This joint call provides interagency coordination and daily updates from the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center, the governors’ office, and other state and county emergency response agencies.
The Town of Kiawah Island’s (TOKI) Emergency Management team participates in the Tri-County conference calls and disseminates information to its residents. The town’s Emergency Management team incorporates officials from KICA, Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Partners, Kiawah Island Utility, Freshfields Village, and all other entities integral to preserving the safety of island residents and visitors.
Communication & Emergency Notifications
The Town of Kiawah Island leads communication efforts in emergencies and disseminates important detailed notices to the community. As part of the island’s emergency management plan, KICA and TOKI issue joint emergency communications.
TOKI Email Distribution List: Email notifications are sent to all residents registered for the town’s email distribution list. To be added, visit www.kiawahisland.org/
CodeRED Emergency Notification System: The town uses CodeRED as an additional method to communicate to residents in emergencies. Sign up for CodeRED all severe weather alerts at www.kiawahisland.org/
Town Website: www.kiawahisland.org/
KICA’s Email Distribution List: If you receive KICA’s weekly emails, you are on the distribution list. KICA will disseminate emergency messages to all members through our email communications.
KICA Text Alerts: KICA uses text alerts to communicate with members when there is an urgent need, such as when an evacuation order is given. If your mobile phone number is on file with KICA, you are signed up for text alerts. To add your phone number, visit the KICA member portal.
KICA Website: kica.us
When a hurricane threatens South Carolina’s coast, the governor may issue an evacuation order depending on the storm’s anticipated track. The governor has the sole authority to issue an evacuation order. If issued, every person on the island SHOULD evacuate for their safety.
What To Expect If I Stay
All members are encouraged to comply with an evacuation order. Individuals who do not comply may expose themselves to life-threatening conditions as a result and should be aware they may encounter the following emergency operations procedures:
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. If you remain on the island and leave your property for any reason and a closure happens, you may not be allowed to reenter until the mayor officially opens back up the island.
If conditions warrant, critical public safety services (EMS, fire, law enforcement) may withdraw their equipment and personnel or shelter in place and not respond to emergencies until conditions improve.
Kiawah Island Utility and Berkeley Electric may preemptively power down their services to protect equipment.
Designated Evacuation Route
Evacuees from Kiawah/Seabrook Islands will take:
Road S-20 (Bohicket/Main Rd.) to US 17.
US 17 south to SC 64 to Walterboro, then to North Augusta.
If you evacuate before an evacuation order has gone into effect, you will be able to choose your evacuation route. After an order is issued, you may be required to take the designated evacuation route and may not be permitted to deviate.
Post Storm Procedures & Re-entry
Once the storm has passed, the following procedures must take place before re-entry is allowed:
Law enforcement, first responders, followed by officials and authorized personnel, return to the island. Damage assessment teams are dispatched to quantify the damage and impact on the community. The initial damage assessment (also called a windshield survey) is due within 24 hours to Charleston County Emergency Management and does not include damaged property not seen from the road. If substantial damage is found during the initial assessment, teams will conduct an island-wide detailed inspection to evaluate the extent of damage to structures, infrastructure, and critical resources. That process could take days or weeks, depending on the storm’s severity.
The governor has to lift the evacuation order, but this does not authorize re-entry to the island.
The mayor of Kiawah Island has to give the ALL-CLEAR and establish the re-entry schedule for residents. There may be a delay between when an evacuation order is lifted and when re-entry is allowed. Re-entry will vary depending on the severity of the storm. Property owners will not be allowed back until damage assessments are complete and the island has been deemed safe.
The criteria needed for re-entry are 1) primary roads have been cleared, 2) secondary roads have at least one lane available, and 3) power and water are restored.
The mayor may choose to open the island in stages, based on the severity of the damage. For example, residents may be permitted ahead of routine contractors and/or island guests. These steps will be communicated jointly by KICA and the town.
Do not attempt to return to the island before the mayor has given the ALL-CLEAR. Charleston County Sheriff Deputies will establish a control point and restrict access. This restriction of public entry will be in addition to coverage on the island and provide evacuated residents greater assurance that the island and their homes are secure.
Post Storm Procedures & Re-entry
Following re-entry, residents need to continue to pay attention to official communications for important information regarding recovery operations. If necessary, Kiawah Island Utility may need residents to minimize their wastewater flows to prevent sewage overflow or issue a boil water notice.