In South Carolina the Governor is the only person legally authorized to order an evacuation for hurricanes. If the Governor orders an evacuation for a hurricane threat to the SC Coast region the following Dorchester County residents must relocate to a safer structure.
- Zone B - Central Charleston: From the Charleston county line to Ladson Road to the Ashley River. This includes the City of North Charleston in Dorchester County, and all residents living in all low-lying areas and those residents currently residing in mobile or manufactured homes.
- Zone D - Sand Hills Area: West of the Ashley River, 17A to the Colleton County line and all areas bordering Charleston County, and all residents living in all low-lying areas and those residents currently residing in mobile or manufactured homes.
- Zone E - Miles Jamison/Oakbrook Area: Miles Jamison Road, between Ladson Road, to Bacons Bridge Road: including the Lakes of Summerville, Newington Plantation, and Crestwood Subdivision south to Orangeburg Road, and South Main Mobile Home Park, and all residents living in all low-lying areas and those residents currently residing in mobile or manufactured homes.
- Zone F - The Swamp: Any other low-lying areas including the Cypress Swamp area, the Edisto River area and the Twin Lakes Subdivision and those residents currently residing in mobile or manufactured homes.
Since Hurricane Floyd SC emergency planners have significantly improved evacuation plans. The state has established lane-reversal strategies on some major highways (I-26, etc.), expanded traffic monitoring systems, improved coordination of multi-state evacuation plans and other measures.
Evacuation decision recommendations to the Governor use information gleaned from conference calls among officials and emergency managers, computerized tracking and analysis models and discussions with the National Weather Service. Key factors in evacuation decision-making include:
- Storm Category and Landfall Forecast Timing
- Tourist Occupancy Levels
- Complete evacuation of those in storm surge zones and mobile homes before arrival of 40 MPH winds
- Consideration of news broadcast times to achieve greatest public awareness
SC Hurricane Evacuation Plans are based on moving persons vulnerable to Storm Surge or Inland Flooding along the coast, inland waterways and low-lying areas, along with Mobile and Manufactured home residents to the 'closest point of safety.' For the Central SC coast, including Dorchester County, official evacuation routes lead to the Columbia area. Evacuations are timed to clear people from these vulnerable areas prior to the arrival of sustained 40 mph winds. Remember, the arrival times of these hazardous winds are often far in advance of the storm's center making landfall. DO NOT time your evacuation based on the arrival of the storm's eye or center. If you do you will likely be caught outdoors during very dangerous conditions.
Should I Evacuate?
Run From The Water, Brace For The Wind!
In general, if your home is not included in an evacuation zone, you can consider remaining in your home, BUT only IF you take the necessary precautions:
- Protect your home's windows and doors!
- Have a Family Disaster Plan, Disaster Supply Kit, Food, Water and other essentials for a minimum of 3 days (5 days recommended)
- Your home is built according to building codes
- Prepared to be without power and other utilities for several days or longer!
- Evaluate the threat of trees falling on your home
- Evaluate your vulnerability to flooding from torrential rains
- Identify a Safe Room or area of your home to safely ride out the storm
- Designate someone outside the area, preferably out-of-state, as your family contact.
See our Preparedness page for more important information on preparing your home and business.
- Pre-plan primary and alternate routes. Become familiar with roads parallel to primary evacuation routes.
- Leave as soon as possible, preferably during daylight. Evacuation may take longer than expected so allow extra time to reach your destination.
- Have and review appropriate road maps for your trip, especially evacuation route maps. Get a good map and plan various evacuation routes avoiding low-lying areas. This is especially valuable in the event of flooding of rivers, streams, tropical storms, or flash floods.
- Evacuation route maps, I-26 Lane Reversal information and other important evacuation guidance is available from the SC Department of Transportation and SC Dept. of Public Safety web sites.
- During an evacuation or other declared emergency, the SC Department of Transportation will activate a toll free number for traffic and road conditions. Call 1-888-877-9151.
- While enroute to your destination monitor SC Educational Radio Stations for official
evacuation traffic reports from the SC Highway Patrol. Evacuation traffic reports from police officers manning critical intersections, patrolling routes and airplanes monitoring routes will be broadcast on SC Educational Radio. Reports on other radio stations from unofficial and un-verified callers may not be accurate.
- There is no access to the reversed lanes of I-26 west of the College Park Rd. interchange. Access to the normal westbound lanes will be as usual.
- Motorists should be on the lookout for electronic message boards along evacuation routes and follow any instructions displayed. These boards may direct motorists to tune in to a local AM radio station to hear route-specific traffic information and other special emergency-related messages.
- During Mandatory Evacuations when I-26 is reversed Comfort Stations at Rest Areas and Weigh Stations in Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester and Orangeburg Counties are supplied with extra portable toilets and bottled water.
Before You Evacuate
- Fill the gas tank of your car
- Use EXTREME CAUTION if transporting extra gasoline in storage containers
- Store home and lawn care chemicals above areas that could be flooded
- Shut off the water to the house
- Turn off the electricity at the main breaker
- Let people know when you are leaving and where you are going. Give family contact numbers to neighbors.
- Lock the windows and doors
- Close blinds and drapes
- Put plastic bags over TVs, stereos, lamps, computers, etc.
- Fill the sinks and bathtubs with water to use for bathing, washing clothes, flushing, when you return
- Pack some clothes in plastic bags and store on high shelves
- Adjust the refrigerator and freezer to the coolest possible setting
- Find a secure place for boats or second cars
- Turn off natural gas or propane tanks
- Cover windows and doors with shutters or plywood if possible.
- Bring inside or secure outdoor items such as bird feeders, bicycles, grills, propane tanks and planters
- Make sure your neighbors have a safe ride
- Take your Disaster Supply Kit, Food, Water and important documents (identification, insurance papers, etc.) from home with you.
If sheltering options are not available with family or friends an American Red Cross Shelter can be a last resort of safety for your family.