What You Should Know About Hurricanes

Hurricane season lasts from May through November and comes around every year. Some years have bigger and worse storms than others. If you educate yourself in what to do in the event of a hurricane you will be far better prepared for it.

what you should know about hurricanes
A hurricane is more than just an incredibly windy day. For instance, the ocean’s storm surge may extend beyond the immediate coastal areas. Hurricanes also bring tornadoes, heavy rains, and flooding to inland regions. It’s important to prepare for this ahead of time.

Before the Storm

If you live along the coast or are visiting, plan an evacuation route. When you check into your vacation rental be sure to ask about procedures in case of a hurricane. Stay tuned to a local television and radio station for emergency evacuation information. Know the safe inland routes to escape the path of the storm.

During the Storm

Stay tuned into your local television and radio stations for emergency information. Keep a battery-operated, solar-powered or hand-crank-operated radio or television for use during power outages. Stay inside a well-constructed building and away from windows and doors, even if they are covered. Go to an interior first-floor room, closet, or under the stairs and stay alert.

Tornadoes are often spawned during hurricanes. If the “eye” of the storm passes over your area, be aware that severe conditions will return with winds from the other direction in a very short time. Many say when the hurricane reaches you it will sound like a large train. When that noise stops do not go outdoors. Wait until it comes again and fully passes over you.

Limit any non-emergency phone calls. Keep calls brief to minimize network congestion. Wait at least 10 seconds before redialing a call. For non-emergencies, try texting instead. Once the storm passes, be patient. You will most likely not be able to return home right away.

Emergency Shelters

Emergency shelters will be opened if a hurricane approaches South Carolina. Before heading to a public shelter, first consider staying with family and friends or in a hotel out of the evacuated area. If those options are unavailable, the American Red Cross will provide a safe place to stay when you have no other place to go. Cots and blankets will only be provided in the public shelter after hurricane conditions subside. Although food may be provided, specialty items for infants and individuals on restricted diets may not be available.

Stay Connected

During a major disaster, there will be a lot of information available online at various sites. Some information will be accurate while other sources can be misleading. Check your local town or county’s website or verified social media channels to find trustworthy resources such as advisories on shelters, routes, detours and road closures, ways to return home and storm clean-up information.

You can use social media from your mobile device to post your status and let family and friends know you are safe. In addition to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and others, you can use resources such as the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well Program (safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php).

After the Storm

If you have evacuated, some areas may be inaccessible even after the official evacuation order is rescinded. Return only after local authorities advise it is safe to do so. In some cases there may be downed power lines and flooded conditions. Keep tuned to your local radio and TV stations and monitor social media for recovery information. Take the following precautions after the storm:
• Avoid downed and sagging power lines.
• Avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges and roadways.
• Inspect the utilities around and in your home
• Beware of snakes, insects and other animals driven to higher ground by floodwater.
• Let a relative know you are home
• Monitor the radio, TV and social media

If you’d like more information about hurricane conditions when you’re visiting don’t hesitate to contact us at Atlantic Beach Realty and we’ll share all we know with you.

What You Should Know About Rip Tides

The Atlantic hurricane season officially started on June 1 and runs through November 30. During this period there is an increased likelihood of incurring rip tides and currents. When you’re at the beach it’s important to know how to recognize rip tides and what to do about them if you happen to find yourself, or someone else, caught in one.

What You Should Know About Rip TidesRiptides cause more deaths each year than hurricanes, tornadoes, and lightning strikes combined. A rip current can potentially pull you out to sea. People who drown in a riptide do so because they panic and don’t know how to escape it.

What is a rip tide

Rip tides are powerful currents of water moving away from shore and are the leading surf hazard at the beach, especially for non-swimmers. According to the United States Lifesaving Association, 80 percent of surf beach rescues are a result of rip currents.

Rip tides form when waves break near the shoreline, piling up water between the breaking waves at the beach. As this water returns to sea it forms a narrow jet of water that moves rapidly offshore, roughly perpendicular to the shoreline. Normally under most tide and sea conditions the speeds are relatively slow, however when wave, tide and beach conditions align, the speeds can quickly increase and become dangerous to anyone, including experienced swimmers. Stormy weather can significantly increase the occurrence of rip tides.

How to identify a rip tide
Some things to watch for to identify a rip tide or currents include:
~ a channel of churning or choppy water,
~ an area of water having a notable difference in water color,
~ a line of foam, seaweed or other debris moving steadily out to sea,
~ any area of calm and/or muddy water in the midst of more active conditions,
~ or any unusual break in the incoming wave pattern.

Rip currents are often not readily or easily identifiable to the average person so to stay safe look for these signs. If you are concerned about the possibility of rip currents, ask a lifeguard before entering the water.

What to do in a rip tide
If you are caught in a rip current, remain calm. Never fight against the current. Swim out of the current parallel to the shoreline. When out of the current, swim at an angle away from the current and toward the shore. If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float on your back or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim to shore. If you are unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by waving your arms and calling for help.

How to help someone caught in a rip tide
If you see someone in trouble in the water, don’t become a victim yourself. Many people drown each summer while trying to save another person from a rip current. Call to a lifeguard if one is available. If not, call 9-1-1 then throw the person something that floats such as a life jacket or inflatable ball.

To stay safe in the ocean it’s always a good idea to swim where lifeguards are present and to avoid going in the water alone. If you’re not a strong swimmer, wear a flotation device. Regardless of your swimming abilities, make sure you and your family know how to identify a riptide and understand the methods of escaping one.