Horry Co. ready for threat of a hurricane

Horry County, SC - By Evan Lambert - bio | email

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - There's still more than two months left in hurricane season and although the Grand Strand has been spared so far, Horry County emergency officials say they're fully prepared to face a storm.

Officials say they started planning for hurricane season June 1 and that planning includes updating evacuation routes and preparing the Emergency Operations Center to be opened as it's needed.

When Hurricane Earl brushed past our coast emergency management personnel were given a practice round that they say has them on their toes. They're able to spring into action as soon as a storm threatens.

"The first thing we do is we start to monitor the storm and we send out updates. The director of emergency management will set up daily updates, probably two or three times a day letting people know the process," said Alicia Bastian with the emergency management office.

Bastian says that process includes helping to facilitate an evacuation if ordered.

"The EOC would have to activate approximately 12 hours before that to set up the process to help and maintain those evacuations give or take."

One of the most important things people need to do during a storm is to stay tuned to local media for emergency updates.

WMBF News is also working hard to make sure people have the latest information in the event of a hurricane. Chief Meteorologist Rob Hatchell says advance planning is essential.

"That stuff needs to be done now. The plan needs to be made now before anything happens and that way when something does get close you can do it just like that," said Hatchell.

Hatchell says people really need to be worried about a hurricane once a warning is issued.

"Watches will come out 48 hours in advance, while warnings come out 36 hours in advance. That's when you know local government's gonna tell us what we need to do and when to do it and that's when people need to pay attention and do what the officials say.

For more information on what to do when a hurricane strikes visit the Surviving the Storm link in the associated links section.

Copyright 2010 WMBF News. All rights reserved.