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Know Your Zone and When to Go

Thelisha Eaddy
SC Public Radio

Not everyone needs to evacuate from a hurricane, but if you do, knowing which zone you live in will make it much easier to know when to go.

As a hurricane approaches, emergency managers will tell residents when to leave based on the zone they live in. Even if you can’t see the water, it may still be necessary to evacuate depending on your proximity to nearby waterways and points of access. Conversely, if you don’t need to evacuate, you may be asked to ride out the storm at home to prevent unnecessary traffic on evacuation routes.

There are several different ways to find out your evacuation zone. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division outlines the areas that have evacuation zones because of their vulnerability to storm surge flooding:

There are two useful applications for those who have smart devices. The SC Emergency Manager app, which may be downloaded on your iPhone or Android device, is a free service of the EMD. At the bottom of the application, tap on “MAPS” to look up your surge zone based on your current location or a specific address. The South Carolina ETV app will provide the latest storm and evacuation information through its live stream of public radio and television stations ahead of and during a storm.

There are many areas in the state that are not vulnerable to surge flooding, but may experience freshwater flooding from heavy rain, high winds, and tornadoes. Local media will relay additional guidance, recommendations, and orders from the Emergency Management Division in the event of an emergency.

Once you’ve determined your evacuation zone, it’s a good idea to map out an evacuation route. Knowing the designated routes allow you to map out the best location to safety, depending on the storm’s track. This information is available from the South Carolina Department of Transportation:

You can build your checklist and share your path to safety via the SC Emergency Manager app via e-mail, text message, or print the plan for use in the event you need to take protective action ahead of an oncoming hurricane.