The Atlantic Ocean is the best and worst part of Edisto Beach. Its the best for obvious reasons and the worst because from time to time it likes to cook up a hurricane that can cause everything from a heavy rain to massive destruction. Thankfully, Edistos been spared time and time again from any major storm.
But Hurricane Irene could be different. Current projections show that Irene will most likely not make a direct landfall on Edisto Beach, but the high winds, torrential downpours, flooding, lightning, and storm surge could cause damage. The storm is scheduled to make landfall Friday afternoon or Saturday morning.
Officials with Charleston County, which includes Edisto Island, and the Emergency Management Department placed the county under OPCON 4, signaling an increased need to prepare for the storm. This level means that conditions could lead to a partial or full activation of the Charleston County Emergency Operations Center. When determining the severity of the OPCON levels, the severity increases as the numbers go down. For instance, if the county were under an OPCON 1, it would mean a full-on disaster was in effect and evacuations become necessary.
As of now, Edisto Beach is under a hurricane watch, and anyone in the area is encouraged to make a plan and prepare for the storm. Homeowners should consider boarding windows and bringing in anything from outdoor decks and porches. Its also necessary to have bottled water, canned and boxed food, important documents, medication, and mementos or other priceless items.
Also, find out what your friends, family, and neighbors plan to do. Its always good to remain in touch with friends and family in case of an emergency.
If officials decide to implement a voluntary or mandatory evacuation, Edistos evacuation procedure means locals and vacationers must leave via Highway 174 and US 17 South to SC 64 towards Walterboro. This doesnt mean that everyone has to leave, that will always be a choice (though highly discouraged in the event of a mandatory evacuation), but it is highly recommended that anyone in an evacuation area leaves the area. In addition, this evacuation route is to prevent major traffic congestion, Many people consider evacuating via Charleston-area highways, but that leads to massive delays.
Visit EdistoBeach.com for updates about Hurricane Irene that affect Edisto.