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Hurricanes are both terrifying and devastating. Throughout its history, South Carolina has been hit by a total of 30 hurricanes, some of which caused the state to go into an emergency (most notoriously Hazel in 1954 and Gracie in 1959). This month, we wanted to look at what to do in a hurricane, as a refresher course in case something big and unexpected hits the Carolina coast in September.
Before we get into what you’ll need to protect yourself and your loved ones during a hurricane, we have to make something clear: you need to stay informed. Check your weather news and radio as regularly as possible. Disasters strike the hardest when the residents are not prepared. During hurricane season, keep extra drinking water and supplies in. After you have an idea of what the hurricane schedule looks like, it’s time to get to work:
Evacuate if necessary - This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to keep yourself updated. Sometimes, the hurricane will be far more devastating than expected. In such cases, always listen to reason. There’s no point in remaining in the house if it’s too dangerous.
If you choose to stay though, here’s how to approach the situation:
Stay inside and don’t get close to any windows or glass doors. - When a hurricane is forming in your area, you have to make sure that you stay inside and away from anything that can break easily. Some hurricanes are brutal, and can take out whole house roofs with themselves, which is why in addition to staying inside, you’ll benefit from also going underground. E.g. basements and/or downstairs bathrooms.
Be patient - Hurricanes can be deceiving. We have all heard the phrase: “The calm before the storm”, right? Well, during a hurricane, that phrase is as true as ever. When your residence is caught in the eye of the storm, this can create a temporary stop to all the chaos, but you can be sure it’ll resume when the high winds reach you again. A healthy dose of skepticism can be a lifesaver in this situation.
Now, how do you actually know when the situation is handled and the storm has passed? Here’s what we suggest:
A radio is one of your most significant allies - Chances are that your power will go down when a hurricane is passing through. If you want to stay updated regarding the storm’s schedule, when it will pass, and how to protect yourself better, radio is one of your best options.
How to protect yourself if you are in a vehicle:
Find shelter - If it’s too late to outrun the storm, you have to do everything in your power to go to a sheltered place. If it’s possible, get away from the road and look for cover under a bridge or in a garage.
Avoid flooded streets - 1 in 4 deaths during a Hurricane is due to drowned cars according to the National Hurricane Center. If you can’t avoid a flooded street, this article might help you out. Oftentimes, the water is far deeper than we think, and the last thing you want is to get trapped in a Hurricane. Like the NWS says: “Turn Around Don’t Drown”
Be careful with the wind (drive slowly) - High winds are known for turning vehicles over. If you are speeding up in a storm, the effects from the wind can be disastrous. Let’s not also forget the debris that will inevitably accompany it. There’s not much you can do, except to lower your speed (or if you can, stop entirely.)
If there's heavy rain, don’t drive at all - If there’s one thing that accompanies Hurricanes more than anything else, it’s incredible volumes of rain. The best course of action if a rain catches you is to pull over and wait for it to pass. Your vision is an asset you can’t lose when driving.
We wish you a safe ride home! If there’s a hurricane forming in your area, we implore you to stay inside and be safe. If you have no choice but to evacuate, we’d love to help you out. Be sure to stop by our Brown Motor Works Northeast location at 520 Clemson Rd., Columbia, SC 29229, or schedule an appointment online. We specialize in BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Mini Coopers, so you can feel confident your vehicle is in good hands with our highly skilled technicians.