Hurricane Information

Hurricane Preparedness Guide

Review the South Carolina Emergency Management Division's 2019 Hurricane Preparedness Guide and keep it on hand in the event of a hurricane. It contains useful preparation tips including evacuation maps and an emergency supply checklist.

Hurricane Maps and Tools 

Storm Definitions

Tropical Disturbance

A tropical wave or easterly wave defined as a cluster of clouds and thunderstorms moving through the tropics.

Tropical Depression

When the tropical wave develops a rotary, cyclonic circulation with sustained winds to 38 miles per hour.

Tropical Storm

Once winds within a tropical system reach 39 miles per hour and the distinct low-pressure area is well defined by a rotating circulation, the system is considered a tropical storm and is given a name.

Hurricane

A hurricane has sustained winds exceeding 74 miles per hour or greater, dangerously high water and rough seas. Hurricanes are categorized by severity using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale: 

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

  • Category One
    Winds 74 to 95 miles per hour.
  • Category Two
    Winds 96 to 110 miles per hour.
  • Category Three
    Winds 111 to 129 miles per hour.
  • Category Four
    Winds 130 to 156 miles per hour.
  • Category Five
    Winds 157 miles per hour.

Actual storm surge values will vary considerably depending on coastal configurations and other factors.


Watches & Warnings

When a tropical storm or hurricane threatens, the National Hurricane Center will issue advisories based on the projected time until landfall of the storm.

Watch

A tropical storm or hurricane watch means that tropical storm or hurricane conditions pose a possible threat in a specified region within 36 hours. You should begin preliminary preparations. Stay tuned to local news or the weather channel for updates.

Warning

A tropical storm or hurricane warning means that tropical storm or hurricane conditions are expected in a specified region within 24 hours. All preparations should be completed. Stay tuned to local news or the weather channel for evacuation orders and additional instructions.


Municipal Emergency Operations Center Operating Conditions

OPCON 3

Day-to-day operations to include normal training and exercises.

OPCON 2

Disaster or emergency situation likely or imminent. Full or partial activation of the City of Charleston Municipal Emergency Operations Center.

OPCON 1

Disaster or emergency situation in effect; full-fledged emergency response operations on-going; the highest state of emergency operations.  Full activation of the City of Charleston Municipal Emergency Operations Center.