Wind shear and cooler waters often keep systems from strengthening and heading our way during the early part of the season. That can lead to a false sense of security by the time we get to August and September. Yet, the peak of hurricane season is in the midst of students returning to school, and just as tourists and vacationers are making their final trips before fall.
As homebuilders on the coast, we want to make sure property owners throughout the region are ready for each Atlantic hurricane season. The 2021 season is not even close to drawing to a close.
In this guide, we are helping you make sure you are not caught off guard in the event a storm does approach. We will cover these topics:
- Tropical Systems that Have Impacted Northeastern South Carolina and Southeastern North Carolina
- How to Make Sure You and Your Family Are Safe
- What You Need to Do for Your Home Before a Storm Threatens
- What You Need to Do When a Storm Threatens
- The Importance of Choosing a Well-Constructed Home
- Why Tropical Systems are Not a Reason to Avoid Myrtle Beach
We hope this guide can be a resource for homeowners in the Myrtle Beach area, as well as people considering purchasing property or building a home here.
1) Tropical Systems that Have Impacted Northeastern South Carolina and Southeastern North Carolina
Every city on the coast is susceptible to impacts from hurricanes and tropical storms. However, Myrtle Beach is less likely to be struck by a storm than many other coastal Carolina cities, including Cape Hatteras, Morehead City, and Wilmington.
Hurricanes that begin in the Gulf of Mexico can be guided in any direction, but they seldom make landfall in northeastern South Carolina. Those storms are more likely to strike the Gulf Coast of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, or Texas.
Most likely, for a Gulf of Mexico storm to impact our area, it will have been weakened from its travel across the Southeast.
Storms that develop in the Caribbean or near Africa are more likely to hit the East Coast; but, the Gulf Stream, a strong ocean circulation that runs through the Atlantic often steers storms away from our region.
If a tropical cyclone gets caught in the Gulf Stream, it poses a greater threat to North Carolina's Outer Banks than our area. However, impacts from a strong hurricane or tropical storm can reach far from its center, so it is important to take precautions any time there is an impending storm.
A few of the storms that have had the greatest impacts on our area include:
- Hurricane Hazel – 1954
- Hurricane Hugo – 1989
- Hurricane Floyd – 1999
- Hurricane Charley – 2004
- Hurricane Matthew – 2016
- Hurricane Florence – 2018
Hurricane Hazel wreaked the most havoc on Myrtle Beach. It was stronger than any other hurricane in our area's history.
However, Hurricane Florence is likely to be the one that sticks in the minds of most residents today. While it was only a minor category one hurricane when it made landfalls, it moved painfully slow, dumping 40 inches of rain in some parts of our area. River flooding lasted for weeks, and it continued to drop historically torrential rain upstream.
With a history of potential tropical weather, you and your family need to be prepared for anything.
2) How to Make Sure You and Your Family Are Safe
How can you keep you and your family safe from a natural disaster like a hurricane?
One advantage to these systems over tornadoes and earthquakes is that tropical systems are well-forecasted. Although there are certainly surprises, the intensity and general geographic regions that will be impacted are often known with reasonable certainty long before the storm makes landfall.
With that in mind, here are some keys to keeping your family safe:
- Plan your evacuation: Traffic will become busy quickly when emergency evacuations are issued. You and your family must become familiar with evacuation routes before the peak of hurricane season begins, so you don't have to go blindly when evacuation orders are issued.
- Store vital paperwork in the right place: You will have little time to search for all of your critical documents when a storm is approaching. Make sure your important paperwork is stored somewhere you will remember that is secure and accessible enough to grab as you evacuate.
- Check your insurance: Homeowners insurance may not be enough to cover damages from hurricanes and tropical storms. Double-check that you have all of the necessary insurance. Flood and hurricane insurance may be required to ensure you have the coverage you need.
- Follow local meteorologists: You may have a weather app on your smartphone, but as helpful as these programs can be, they are often not as skilled at forecasting hurricanes. Make sure you are following local meteorologists. Many will go into deep detail about storms on their social media pages.
- Err on the side of caution: If you have experienced a “false alarm” regarding tropical systems, you may be tempted to ignore warnings to prepare and evacuate. It is best for your family’s safety to heed all warnings and evacuation notices.
These steps will help keep you and your family safe if a storm does threaten.
3) What You Need to Do for Your Home Before a Storm Threatens
While there may not be an impending storm on the horizon in the next week, there are still steps you can take, even now. In fact, there is some preparation that can only be performed before a storm directly threatens the area.
1. Perform routine house maintenance: Home maintenance is vital. Before a storm forms or threatens, make sure your home's exterior and interior elements are in good working order.
2. Gutter repair: Your property's gutters are essential for effectively diverting water away from your home. When heavy rain hits, clogged or broken gutters can cause flooding issues in your home’s basement, crawlspace, garage, and contribute to water related foundation issues.
3. Landscaping maintenance: Falling trees and tree limbs can cause significant damage. You don’t want to wait until there is an impending storm to clean dead, weak, or leaning trees and large tree limbs.
4. Check your emergency preparedness kit: Put together an emergency preparedness kit that will help you during any natural disaster or emergency. Your kit should include:
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Candles (be especially careful to extinguish candles before you fall asleep)
- Non-perishable food items
- Water and ice
- Fuel for generators
- First aid supplies
- Backup battery chargers for phones
- Books, board games, and other activities
5. Make sure your property drains properly: If you have standing water on your property that doesn't drain well, you can imagine how much a tropical storm will aggravate the situation.
6. Install storm shutters: Wind-driven debris can break window glass, inviting wind and rain into your home. If you can, install storm shutters to protect your windows.
4) What You Need to Do When a Storm Is Threatening
Is there an impending tropical system in the Atlantic? Here are seven steps to take today:
- Develop your plan: If you are evacuating, make sure you have a plan for what you will take with you. If you are not evacuating, make sure you have a plan for what to do if conditions worsen.
- Know the strong points: Even with weaker systems, tropical storms and hurricanes can spawn destructive tornadoes. It is important to pay close attention to watches and warnings and know where you are going to take shelter if strong winds threaten your home. You will want to go to an interior room, closet, or basement if possible.
- Charge all devices: Make all devices, smartphones, and radios are fully charged as these will be a lifeline during the storm. It is a good idea to keep a battery or solar
- Be aware of community shelters: If you are not evacuating, know where there are community shelters in place. They will typically be in public buildings or schools.
- Secure or store outdoor furniture: Your patio and deck furniture, trampoline, and lawn decorations can become wind-driven projectiles during hurricanes. Before you evacuate, make sure all outdoor items are secured.
- Cover your windows: Storm shutters are ideal, but you can also use plywood to protect windows from flying debris.
- Pack your important documents: If you are evacuating, it is vital to bring your important documents with you. You may need some of the information within the documents before you return home. Additionally, you would not want them to be damaged by the storm.
You cannot over-prepare for an impending hurricane or tropical storm.
5) The Importance of Choosing a Well-Constructed Home
Are you considering moving to Myrtle Beach? You do not want to invest in property that is not built with the best materials and practices. One look inside a Realstar Home reveals our dedication to excellence.
We only deal with experts who share our values, and we thoroughly check their work to ensure that it meets our high standards. In North Carolina, every Realstar Home is covered by a 6-year structural warranty, and in South Carolina, an 8-year structural warranty.
Every year, we spend thousands of dollars to have each home examined by a third party. 2M Quality inspections go above and beyond county building inspections, examining all of your new home's final features to ensure that the workmanship is of the highest quality.
Hurricanes can pack a punch. If you want to make sure you have a house that is likely to survive a storm, you need to get in touch with the team at Realstar Homes.
6) Why Tropical Systems Are Not a Reason to Avoid Myrtle Beach
The potential for tropical systems may make you want to avoid a place like Myrtle Beach. However, widespread damage from hurricanes and tropical storms is quite rare.
Atlantic hurricanes are some of the most thoroughly forecasted weather events in the world. With proper preparation, you can keep your family safe and protect your property.
There are immeasurable reasons to move to Myrtle Beach:
- Dozens of world-class golf courses
- White sand beaches and ocean sports like surfing
- Sunny days and mild temperatures
- The Grand Strand and more restaurants than you can visit in a lifetime
- State parks and miles to explore
One of the most important steps you can take to protect your family and property from the effects of a tropical system is buying a home built using quality materials and expert techniques.
Our communities are appointed with many amenities, often including swimming pools, fitness centers, business centers, playgrounds, shelters, and more.
Within a short drive from almost any Realstar Homes neighborhood, you can get to the beach, Grand Strand, airport, and many numerous companies.
If you want to begin the process of building your dream home in the Myrtle Beach area, make sure it is one that can withstand whatever nature throws at it.
Contact Realstar Homes today. We are here to help you find a great home.