2022 hurricane season: Time to prepare is now

September 23, 2022
Coastal watch warnings and forecast cone featuring Hurricane Fiona in the Atlantic ocean. Photo by NHC/NOAA

September introduced the Atlantic’s first named tropical storm of 2022, and with the aftereffects of Hurricane Fiona, which devastated Puerto Rico and Turks and Caicos Islands with flooding and damaging winds, late summer is often a vivid reminder of the damage these storms can cause and the importance of preparation for communities on the South Carolina coast.

“And the time to prepare is now,” said Bryan Wood, MUSC emergency manager, Department of Public Safety.

Wood and members of MUSC’s Office of Student Engagement participated in an annual hurricane seminar for students on Aug. 24. The team reviewed preparation basics, including establishing a hurricane plan, preparing a hurricane kit, explaining the use of Code Red Alerts and providing information related to Lowcountry storm shelters and managing pets during a storm. At the event, the first 25 students received a ReadyAmerica Emergency Kit, which included enough food bars and water pouches to last three days, gloves, light sticks, a survival blanket, weather radio, flashlight and an emergency plan. The event was sponsored by the Center for Global Health, Office of Student Engagement and Department of Public Safety.

Wood emphasized that all individuals and families should make hurricane preparations every year.

In 2019, Hurricane Dorian brought high winds and rain to the Lowcountry and Carolina coast, leaving 270,000 households without power.

Wood recommends creating a hurricane kit with enough supplies for three days. Contents of the kit should include:
· Water – 2 gallons of water per person per day, which includes 1 gallon for drinking and 1 gallon for general use.
· Food – plan for a three-day supply per person, including high-protein, nonperishable items.
· Flashlight/lanterns and batteries.
· Weather radio and batteries.
· First aid kit.
· Toilet paper.
· Miscellaneous entertainment in case of a loss of power: deck of cards, a book, games, etc.

If a hurricane warning forecasts a threat that most likely will affect this area, Wood recommends elevating readiness and doing the following:
· Fill prescription drugs.
· Have cash on hand.
· Fill cars with gas.
· Prepare detailed video documentation of your home, inside and outside, including contents, using a smartphone

Wood recommends the resource Hurricanestrong.org, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)- and NOAA-sponsored website, from which to download a family hurricane preparedness guide and the hurricane safety and preparedness checklists, when starting your preparation.

MUSC students and employees are encouraged to download and use MUSC Alerts – an emergency notification system through the MUSC Alert System that includes SMS text messaging, voice messaging and desktop alerts for up-to-date progress on storm progress, campus preparations and related announcements.

A valuable statewide hurricane resource is the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s S.C. Emergency Manager Mobile app, which is downloadable via the Apple App Store and Google Play. It helps users to build an emergency plan and provides Zone evacuation updates, closings and delays in addition to emergency shelter locations and other resources.  

“These are all practical tips and activities that anyone can do now, or anytime, to ensure they’re ready for hurricane season,” Wood said.