If you live, vacation or own property in the Grand Strand region, then you know that hurricanes are a very real and serious threat. According to the Hurricane City website, a project compiling data and statistics on storms, on average, the Myrtle Beach area is brushed or hit by a hurricane every two years. While the Myrtle Beach region dodged the most brutal destruction from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, state and county officials have revised and updated the hurricane zones and plans for evacuation in place in the event of a major storm. What you’ll find below is an overview, so please visit the links for additional information and resources, as well as CondoLux’s hurricane page.
Sadly, hurricane season coincides with vacation season, which means hurricanes will typically hit the Myrtle Beach area during its busiest and most populated times. While the “official” season spans June 1st to November 30th, historically speaking, 22 of South Carolina’s 31 recorded landfalls have occurred during August and September. If an evacuation is required during August, be prepared for a “mass exodus.” One thing you can do is to know your zone and zone-specific evacuation route ahead of time.
Watch or Warning
We live in an age of rapidly streaming media, and typically, the tropical storm brewing out in the ocean is a topic of discussion on TV, radio and the internet. So what is the difference between a hurricane watch and a warning? According to Horry County Emergency Management Department (EMD), a watch is an announcement of possible storm conditions within 48 hours. On the other hand, the warning is the more serious threat, with storm conditions expected within the next 36 hours. Carolina Live reports that “according to National Hurricane Center statistics, [for every hurricane warning issued] there is a 25% chance you’ll get winds of 74 mph or greater. That means 3 out of 4 times you’ll be warned and never get hurricane force winds.” However, given the damage and destruction we have seen in recent years from Hurricanes Irene, Katrina and Sandy, it is better to be safe than sorry.
A number of factors have contributed to the new evacuation zone mapping (see map below). The increase in population and housing density, along with data gathered from new technology studying storm impact and surge patterns, has led to a larger evacuation area. If you previously thought that you lived too far from the beach to be affected, you might want to think again. Horry County is divided into 3 evacuation zones (Zone A, B, and C). Mandatory evacuations will follow the hurricane warning and evacuees are required to follow the assigned evacuation routes for the zone.
Have A Plan
Develop a family disaster plan using this helpful worksheet. You’ll be best prepared if you have critical identification information written down and stored in an emergency kit should a life-threatening storm occur. It is also a good idea to be sure emergency supplies are on hand in your property, including extra water, canned goods, flashlights and batteries.
Will It Affect My Rental?
If your property is within the evacuation zones, you certainly stand a chance of property damage. While many will focus on the most serious high wind and water threats for those closest to the beach in Zone A (red), the EMD also points out that those in Zones B (yellow) and C (orange) may see significant flooding from the Intracoastal Waterway and Waccamaw River basin. Horry County EMD has a helpful resource for residents and property owners that includes reviewing your property’s insurance policies to view your coverage for windstorm and hail as well as flood. To assess your property’s potential for flood damage, visit www.floodsmart.gov for more information.
For those of you just visiting the area, be up to date on our hurricane rental policies and travel insurance. CondoLux provides travel insurance through CSA Travel Protection. You can view their Hurricane FAQ for info about their policies. In the event of a mandatory evacuation, not only will you be reimbursed for those nights if you purchase travel insurance, but you could be compensated for alternate lodging.
Although it seems redundant, the most you can prepare ahead of time, the better equipped you’ll be in case of an evacuation. More posts about hurricanes in the area can be found on our hurricane content page.