South Carolina recognized for storm preparedness by National Weather Service

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Whether it’s tornadoes, hurricanes or winter storms, South Carolina is no stranger to severe weather.

Tuesday, the National Weather Service (NWS) recognized the Palmetto State as being certified as Storm Ready. 

 “South Carolina is only one of five Storm Ready states across the country. That’s a big initiative that South Carolina undertook over the past several years,” said Trisha Palmer, NWS Greenville-Spartanburg meteorologist. 

Storm Ready requires a lot of partnerships between the National Weather Service and county officials as well as recertifications.

 “It’s why it’s such an accomplishment given the amount of work that goes into this and partnerships we have to build in the process,” said John Quagliariello, NWS Columbia meteorologist.

The South Carolina Emergency Management app can help you be storm ready when severe weather threatens. It’s also important to have a safe place to go.

“For a tornado, if you’re in a home,  go to some central room, maybe a bathroom with no windows. That’s probably the most survivable place or a hallway or closet to protect yourself,” said Kim Stenson, South Carolina Emergency Management Division director. 

If you get caught in a storm while out on the road, experts say the best place to be is in a low-lying ditch. However, those with the National Weather Service say that staying safe during severe weather depends on personal responsibility.

“If you’re in an evacuation zone, know your zone,” Stenson said. “You’ll be evacuated by zone.”

He says he would like to see more in the Palmetto State evacuate during hurricanes.

“We don’t have a real good track record in South Carolina,” the SCEMD director said. “Somewhere between 50 and 60 percent of people evacuate, roughly 40 percent don’t. They’re potentially in danger, certainly from the surge.”

Meteorologists say it’s not always smart to wait until the last minute to evacuate.

“ You want to get ahead of those crowds and traffic jams on the highways. That’s one of the biggest issues,” said NWS Charleston meteorologist Ron Morales. “Everyone’s going to go to more or less the same place right? There’s only so many hotels and inland towns you can go to. Do it early. That also starts with employers and schools being as flexible as possible so people can get out. Heed the advice of your local emergency management. That’s for the safety of your life.”

If you decide to shelter in place… they advise having provisions for 3 to 5 days and a radio to listen to news about the weather in your area.

Categories: Local News, Richland, State