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Georgetown County News

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News Releases:

Georgetown County at OPCON 4 as it monitors Hurricane Michael

Oct. 9, 4 p.m.

Georgetown County government moved to Operating Condition (OPCON) 4 this afternoon as in preparation for predicted strong winds and heavy rains related to Hurricane Michael later this week. OPCON 4 indicates an “alert” status in preparation for a possible threat. The county’s Emergency Management Division, in conjunction with S.C. Emergency Management and the National Weather Service, is monitoring the situation closely.

The Georgetown County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has not been activated at this time. Emergency Management staff will keep the public updated as the situation evolves. 

Hurricane Michael is approaching the Gulf Coast and is anticipated to move inland across the Florida Panhandle and then across the Southeastern U.S. into the Carolinas. The storm is expected to pass across our area on Thursday, producing 2-4 inches of rain and some wind gusts up to tropical force strength, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

The combination of strong winds and wet ground could knock down some trees causing blocked roads, power outages and direct damage to homes.

The biggest concern for our area is flooding from heavy rainfall, including flash flooding. With the ground still saturated in many areas, flooding could occur quickly. Hazardous marine and surf conditions with rip currents will exist and a few tornados are possible, according to the National Weather Service.

If flooding occurs, motorists are advised to avoid travel. If you must drive, use extreme caution. Never drive through flooded roadways or move road barricades.

Precautions for flooding

Emergency Management officials recommend residents — especially those in low-lying areas — take the following precautions to prevent or minimize property damage or loss if flooding occurs:

  • Secure or move outdoor items that may be carried away by flood waters, including outdoor furniture, fuel tanks and other items around the exterior of your home or business. If items cannot be tied down, consider moving them indoors or to higher ground.
  • Consider moving essential or very valuable items to an upper floor.
  • Disconnect electrical items where possible.
  • Be prepared to turn off gas, electricity and water.
  • Gather important documents, such as insurance policies and put them in a safe place.
  • Residents who wish to use sand bags to redirect storm debris flows away from property can find them at most hardware stores. Bags should be filled to half-full. Fold the top of the sandbag down and rest the bag on its folded top. It is important to place bags with the folded top toward the upstream or uphill direction to prevent bags from opening when water flows past.

Personal Safety

The combination of flooding and strong winds has the potential to cause downed trees and scattered power outages. Residents should also be aware that flooding may occur well inland. If flooding occurs, take steps to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones, including: 

  • Stay away from any downed electrical wires and report them to authorities.
  • Do not attempt to cross flowing water on roadways. As little as six inches of water may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle. Two feet of water will carry most cars away.
  • Be aware that flooding on roadways can be difficult to see and assess at night. Avoid driving if conditions seem unsafe.
  • Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water is enough to make a person fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you. 
  • Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle could be quickly swept away.

After a flood

  • Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
  • Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
  • Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Even if the roadway of a bridge or elevated highway looks normal, the support structures below may be damaged.
  • Stay clear of downed power lines and report them to your power company.
  • Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly to foundations. Stay out of any building that is surrounded by floodwaters.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and other harmful chemicals.

Dangerous rip currents and winds:

Conditions will create dangerous rip currents into the weekend.

  • Residents are advised to check surf conditions before venturing into the ocean and be on the lookout for signs that rip currents may be present. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause loss of footing.
  • Be aware that public beaches in Georgetown County do not have lifeguards. 
  • Beachgoers should obey all instructions and orders from firefighters and law enforcement officers assigned to beach patrols. These professionals are trained to identify hazards.

For updates and future warnings, visit www.gtcounty.org or follow Georgetown County government’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, @GtCountySC and @GCEMD.

County residents asked to report damage from flooding, hurricane

Oct. 1, 3:30 p.m.

As Georgetown County works on damage assessment efforts, residents and businesses are asked to assist by reporting damages to their properties online.

Based on initial reports, it appears damage has been minor in most areas. Residents who have damage to report, such as water damage or wind damage from Hurricane Florence, may submit photos and details online via https://www.crisistrack.com/public/georgetownSC/citizenRequest.html. This will help our damage assessment team as it works its way through the county.

Additionally, residents are advised that FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are now working in our area. DSA teams are equipped with latest mobile technology allowing them to register survivors for disaster assistance, update their records and make referrals to community partners. Team members tailor the information and services they provide to the individual survivor’s needs.

Like all FEMA field personnel, disaster survivor assistance team members carry official FEMA identification. Residents are encouraged to ask for photo identification before providing personal information.

Survivors don’t have to wait for DSA teams to register for assistance. They can register in the following ways:

  • Visit DisasterAssistance.gov;
  • Via the FEMA mobile app, available for Apple and Android mobile devices. Download the app at www.fema.gov/mobile-app; or
  • Call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY); multilingual operators are available; press 2 for Spanish).

For more information, visit www.gtcounty.org.

From SCEMD: Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams Working in South Carolina

Sept. 26, 7:30 p.m.

FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are working in South Carolina areas affected by Hurricane Florence, but survivors with uninsured or underinsured losses should not wait for one of these teams to arrive before they register with FEMA.

DSA teams are equipped with latest mobile technology allowing them to register survivors for disaster assistance, update their records and make referrals to community partners. Team members tailor the information and services they provide to the individual survivor’s needs.

Teams are canvassing in areas that are currently accessible and will expand their outreach when flood conditions permit safe entry into other areas. Six counties have been designated for FEMA Individual Assistance: Chesterfield, Dillon, Horry, Georgetown, Marion and Marlboro counties. Teams are in several of these counties every day.

Like all FEMA field personnel, disaster survivor assistance team members carry official FEMA identification. Residents are encouraged to ask for photo identification before providing personal information.

Survivors don’t have to wait for DSA teams to register for assistance. They can register in the following ways:

  • Visit DisasterAssistance.gov;
  • Via the FEMA mobile app, available for Apple and Android mobile devices. Download the app at www.fema.gov/mobile-app; or
  • Call 800-621-3362 (800-462-7585 TTY); multilingual operators are available; press 2 for Spanish).

By registering with FEMA, survivors may qualify for federal disaster assistance such as:

  • Help paying for rent or a temporary place to live.
  • Financial awards for essential home repairs not covered by insurance.
  • Awards for disaster-related needs not covered by insurance — such as medical, dental, transportation, funeral expenses, moving and storage fees, personal property loss and child care.

After registering for disaster assistance, survivors may be asked to fill out a low-interest loan application with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans for businesses and nonprofit organizations of all sizes, homeowners and renters. Completing a disaster loan application makes it possible for homeowners and renters to be considered for additional assistance. Applicants do not have to accept the loan if they qualify.

SBA applicants may apply online at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.  More information about low-interest SBA disaster loans and application forms is available online at SBA.gov/disaster or by calling 800-659-2955 (TTY users call 800-877-8339) or via email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.  Call SBA at 800-659-2955 to have an application mailed to you.

FEMA’s Individual Assistance program is designed to help survivors with immediate essential needs and to help displaced survivors find a safe, functional place to live temporarily until they can return home. Many survivors may have additional needs beyond what can be provided by FEMA. The agency works closely with state, federal, faith-based and voluntary agencies to help match survivors who have remaining needs with other sources of assistance.

For more information on Hurricane Florence and South Carolina recovery, visit the South Carolina Emergency Management Division website at scemd.org, on social media (@SCEMD on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), or FEMA’s Hurricane Florence disaster web page at www.fema.gov/disaster/4394, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/FEMA, and the FEMA Region 4 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion4.

 

 

 

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