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If a hurricane watch or warning is issued that means it is time to act in order to be safe and avoid the main impacts of the storm.

Hurricane Watch

A Hurricane Watch is issued when hurricane conditions are a real possibility for an area within 48 hours.

  • Review evacuation plans. Learn safe routes inland and plan your evacuation route. Be ready to drive 20 to 50 miles inland to locate a safe place.
  • Make sure the gas tank in your car is full.
  • Make arrangements for pets, and identify pet-friendly hotels if you plan to evacuate
  • Refill prescription medications.
  • Anchor or stow small boats.
  • Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys and garden tools; anchor objects that cannot be brought inside. Remove outside antennas.
  • Secure buildings by closing and boarding up windows.
  • Turn refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings. Open only when absolutely necessary and close quickly.
  • Store drinking water in jugs, bottles and clean bathtubs.
  • Trim dead or weak branches from trees.
  • Stay tuned to local media and your Weather Alert Radio for updates on the storm.

Hurricane Warning

A Hurricane Warning is issued when a hurricane is expected within 36 hours. Begin precautionary action at once.

  • Store valuables such as jewelry, silverware, photos and scrapbooks in a safe place, such as a waterproof container on the highest level of your home.
  • Park your car in a sheltered area or on high ground.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio or television for official instructions.
  • Evacuate if the order is given.
  • If you must stay at home, stay inside away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
  • Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries. Avoid using open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
  • If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power "surge" when electricity is restored.

If officials order an evacuation:

  • Leave as soon as possible. Avoid flooded roads and watch for washed-out bridges.
  • Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve.
  • Tell someone outside of the storm area where you are going.
  • If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture to protect it from flooding, or move it to a higher floor.
  • Bring blankets and sleeping bags if you are going to a shelter.
  • Lock your home and leave.

Source: Charleston County Emergency Management Department