Everyone in South Carolina remembers the tragic events of last October, when a major storm system caused historic flooding throughout the southeastern United States. The state of South Carolina was particularly hard hit. In all, the storm caused 19 deaths and more than $11 billion in property damage. Many counties in the state were declared official disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Unfortunately, South Carolina faces risks not just from flooding, but from several different types of natural disasters. Myrtle Beach is no exception, and its coastal location puts its residents at a heightened risk for certain threats. It is imperative that all Myrtle Beach residents understand the risks of natural disasters and how to properly prepare to handle any issues that might arise.

Myrtle Beach Natural Disasters: The History and Risks

Myrtle Beach has seen more than its fair share of severe weather events. While we can never truly know what nature will bring next, the following is a list of four natural disasters that all residents should look out for:

  • Hurricanes: Like most locations on the Atlantic, Myrtle Beach faces an annual threat from hurricanes. While a direct hit from a hurricane is relatively rare, there will always be a threat. The next big hurricane could occur during any season. In this part of the country, hurricane season typically starts in June and goes through the end of October, though strong storms most frequently occur in August and September. In the event that a strong hurricane hits the area, the damage could be truly devastating. The last major hurricane to hit Myrtle Beach directly was Hurricane Hugo, which occurred in September of 1989. We have recently passed the 25-year anniversary of that tragedy. To commemorate the damage, TheState.com published an extensive collection of photographs. The pictures make it clear that the destruction caused by Hurricane Hugo was truly dramatic. The coastal regions of South Carolina, including in Myrtle Beach, suffered tremendous damage in that storm. Meteorologists noted that the Hugo hit the coast with the force of an atomic bomb.
  • Flooding: As was seen in the October 2015 storm, flooding has the potential to cause enormous damage. Some floods, such as that one, cause damage throughout wide swaths of the state, while other floods might only cause damage in an extremely localized area. That is part of what makes flooding so frightening. It can occur in so many different types of storms, and in some cases it can occur almost without warning. To learn more about the history of flooding in Myrtle Beach, please visit the website of the National Weather Service which has published detailed information on the history of flood events in South Carolina.
  • Tornadoes: While most people associate tornadoes with the midwest and the great plains, they are still a serious natural disaster threats in South Carolina. Certainly they occur much less often in this region, but you should still be prepared. In fact, a tornado event occurred in Myrtle Beach in 2001, as two tornadoes touched down on the beach and caused major property damage.
  • Earthquakes: Similar to tornadoes, many people do not associate earthquakes with South Carolina. Earthquakes are indeed rare in the state, especially in the coastal region, but they do sometimes occur. In the late 1800s a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the region causing dozens of fatalities. Further, in the event that an earthquake does take place, the damage has the potential to be particularly severe, as many structures throughout Myrtle Beach and South Carolina have not been built to withstand the force of a strong earthquake.

Natural Disaster Tips for Myrtle Beach Residents

Natural disasters are inherently unpredictable. While you can never fully anticipate a severe weather event, you can take action to protect yourself and your loved ones. Please consider the following four natural disaster preparation tips:

  • Sign up for emergency alerts: One of the best ways to keep you and your family safe during a disaster is early notification. Though certainly some natural disasters that could threaten Myrtle Beach can occur with limited warning, such as tornadoes, early knowledge is extremely valuable. It is strongly advised that you sign up for local emergency alerts on your cell phone.
  • Learn the evacuation routes: In the event that you need to evacuate the Myrtle Beach area, you will want to ensure that you can do it safely and without panic. Knowing the precise evacuation route, and where you will go after leaving the immediate area, will go a long way to easing your fears and helping to keep your family safe.
  • Prepare a disaster kit: Every home should have a disaster relief kit. These kits do not need to be overly complex. In fact, an effective disaster relief kit can be prepared at low cost. Some examples of items that should be in your kit include: bottled water, non-perishable food, first aid supplies, needed emergency medical equipment and basic tools such as a flashlight and a radio.
  • Be ready to care for vulnerable loved ones: The needs of every Myrtle Beach family is different. If you family includes especially vulnerable members, you must plan ahead. You might have young children, older relative who lives with you, or even an older relative or friend who lives down the street who you know will need assistance. Regardless, you need to keep these people in mind. Further, you should also think about your pets. After all, pets are essentially members of the family and you will want to be ready to care for them in the event of a natural disaster. For example, if you own a dog, please be sure to include dog food in your disaster preparedness kit.

Do You Need Legal Assistance?

At Joye Law Firm, our team is proud to be part of the community. We strive to give back with every opportunity that we get. Our personal injury attorneys have been protecting victims in South Carolina since 1968. We have an office in Myrtle Beach and additional locations in North Charleston, Clinton and Columbia. If you need legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our team today to set up a free legal consultation to discuss your concerns.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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