Gov. Henry McMaster wants Horry County residents to prepare for a hurricane long before a storm bears down on the coast.
The governor held a brief news conference Friday at the M.L. Brown Public Safety Building in Conway — a stop on a trip to several counties in the state — and met with local officials.
“We’re ready and we want the citizens to be ready,” McMaster said. “Stay alert, be prepared and things will be just fine.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has said two to four major hurricanes are possible during this year’s Atlantic hurricane season.
Major hurricanes are rated category three, four or five, and have winds of at least 111 miles per hour. The Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 to Nov. 30.
State Emergency Management Division Director Kim Stenson advised locals to “have a plan and make it personal.” He said different tools can help with those efforts.
The site also acts an online hub for emergency info during an actual disaster. Additionally, this year’s South Carolina hurricane guide is available to download on the website.
Another tool is the S.C. Emergency Manager app available to download for mobile devices. The app allows users to build their own emergency plans and note things like important phone numbers and insurance information.
Maj. Rob Woods, emergency management coordinator for the S.C. Department of Public Safety, recommended knowing where one will go in case of an emergency and which route to take. He urged the public to service their vehicles throughout the year and keep a full tank of gas in case of an evacuation.
There are 35 evacuation routes statewide, including U.S. 501 and S.C. 22, said Rob Perry, traffic engineering director with the S.C. Department of Transportation. The SCDOT website and 511 S.C. Traffic app can help with locating the evacuation routes.
NOAA is forecasting a likely range of nine to 15 named storms with winds of at least 39 mph during this year’s Atlantic hurricane season. Four to eight of those could become hurricanes, meaning the storms would have winds of 74 mph or greater.
Media outlets have reported that President Donald Trump Thursday signed a $19 billion disaster relief bill. Asked about how much funding the state can expect to receive because of this, McMaster said, "We're working on that."
Flooding from Hurricane Florence last year wreaked havoc on Horry County communities such as Conway, Longs and Socastee.
McMaster said Friday that commission members are still gathering information about potential projects. He added the commission is broken down into multiple panels.
The commission is sponsoring a cleanup day in Nichols on June 15. Volunteers will remove debris and shovel and rake ditches. To register, visit governor.sc.gov.