Hurricane season in the Lowcountry: preparedness in the aftermath of Bonnie

Jasper County homeowner Jim Haney describes how high the flood waters came up to his home.

Starting tomorrow with a ‘Hurricane Preparedness Fair’, Beaufort city officials are meeting with neighbors on how to be ready if something comes this way. They say Beaufort dodged the bullet last weekend, when what’s left of Tropical Storm Bonnie hit Jasper County.

“Oh it was… it was terrible. The water was all the way up our sidewalk,” Jim Haney says.

Haney lives in Jasper County on Brandon Cove Road. “It was deep,” he says.

Haney says some of his neighbors’ garages were flooded, and water went into one house. There was no driving out, as he says the street he lives on had too much water.

“I didn’t know what we were going to do. Our neighbors went and bought sandbags,” he says. “You couldn’t leave. If you had a car, you couldn’t get out of the neighborhood, it was so deep.”

Water reached his truck’s running boards and almost into his house. He partly blames  drainage back-up.

“I really don’t think they were prepared. The drainage…we’ve been here for two years and the drainage has always been poor,” he says.

However, in a news conference on storm damage repairs, the county denies drainage was a problem.

“We have reason to believe that it was a flash flooding issue. The amount of rain that we received, if you look a the clearance time for the flood waters to recede, i think our county drainage system worked quite well,” Jasper County Fire-Rescue Capt. Russell Wells.

Around the Lowcountry like in Beaufort, emergency responders say the time to prepare for potential hurricanes and storms is now.

“You want to talk to the family and have an evacuation plan. You want to have about three days of food and water and medicine for not only yourselves, your pets, your family,” City of Beaufort EMD Capt. Robert Carson says.

That advice includes inspecting drainage in low-lying areas.

“You should always be aware of your surroundings and you should report when you have concerns like that, and there’s people that can come out and check on those things when they call in,” Carson says.

Haney believes his neighbors have learned a lesson from the recent flooding. “In hindsight, I think maybe after this storm people will go out and get flood insurance,” Haney says.

The Beaufort hurricane event is set for Saturday, June 4, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lowe’s.


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