Kiawah Island Digest June 2020 - Page 4

HURRICANE SEASON 2020 Preparing Before a Storm Hurricane season begins June 1 and already the Atlantic has seen its first two storms. Arthur developed on May 16, almost two weeks before the season’s official start, and tropical storm Bertha made landfall in the Charleston area on May 27 after forming the same day. It’s a good reminder that an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. The beginning of the season is a time to review hurricane preparedness plans, both for members and the association. KICA has standard operating procedures for preparing the island for a storm, maintaining security through a storm and storm clean-up. The Town of Kiawah Island takes the lead in an emergency (view the opposite page for information on signing up for communications) and KICA will share the town’s updates through its communication channels. During the season, Kiawah entities monitor each storm that appears. Based on guidance from the SC Emergency Management Division (SCEMD), an emergency operations protocol may be put in place if a storm has the potential for impacts. Once that protocol is in place, island entities join a daily call with SCEMD and other area municipalities. All island entities work together during a storm event. Prior to the storm’s approach, island access may be limited. Based on the storm’s likely timetable and strength, the island could be closed to entry. At that point, sheriff’s deputies will stop and turn back anyone attempting to access the island. KICA’s Security team, usually the last employees on the island, may leave if it is not safe to remain. After a storm has passed and the governor has lifted the evacuation order, the mayor must give an order allowing property owners to return. The town and KICA will conduct a damage assessment of the island and, if it is deemed safe to return, will set a timeline for members. The town and KICA will send out this information, along with a general damage assessment. Following the storm, KICA’s security staff will return to the island. Island clean-up begins prior to members returning to ensure passable roads and a safe environment. KICA’s emergency response crews will be on the island, assisting the land management department with debris. The Lowcountry community has seen a number of storm events over the last few years. Just last September, the island narrowly escaped a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian, as it skirted the coastline. The greatest frequency of storms tends to occur from August 15 to October 15 in our area. Now is the time to get prepared in advance. View some tips on the opposite page to help you and your family get ready for the season. 4 | KIAWAH ISLAND DIGEST