Not since Hurricane Hugo has the Charleston area community kept such a watchful eye on a storm. But Hurricane Irene is shaping up to pose a threat to not only Folly Beach, but much of the east coast.
Currently, weather predictions state that Irene will veer off to the east and might bypass this area altogether, but anyone on Folly Beach is urged to be prepared as landfall on the east coast is likely to be Friday afternoon or early Saturday. A hurricane watch is in effect for the Charleston area.
Officials with Charleston County and the Emergency Operations Center decided as of Tuesday night that Charleston County would be under an Operating Condition (OPCON) 3. This decision was made hours after officials placed the emergency status at an OPCON 4. The OPCON designation is to alert the public as to the perceived level of threat from a given situation. The lower the number gets, the higher the risk. An OPCON 1 would mean that evacuation has begun and the risk of a disaster is imminent.
Residents and vacationers should prepare now for the storm. This means make a plan and stick to it. Having bottled water, canned goods, flashlights, charged batteries for electronic devices, important documents, and know where friends and family will be going if they evacuate. Also make sure pets have a place to go to get out of the path of the storm.
Consider boarding up windows or getting the materials necessary for boarding up windows should it become necessary. Also take in anything outside like plants and porch furniture. Even if Hurricane Irene does not make a direct hit, the wind generated by the hurricane has the power to turn virtually anything outside into flying debris and that can cause massive damage to anything in its path. In addition, the rain and storm surge have the potential to cause significant flooding.
If it becomes necessary, the official evacuation plan for Folly Beach requires everyone to travel on SC 171 to US 17. Then take US 17 South to 1-526 E to the reversed lanes (all traffic goes in one direction) of I-26.
Stay tuned to FollyBeach.com for hurricane updates.
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