BEAUFORT, Sc. (WSAV) – “We want to start preparing now, we don’t want to wait ’til an actual event come and then try to put things in place,” said South Carolina State Trooper Judd Jones.
With the start of another hurricane season, preparation is South Carolina’s biggest priority.
“We cannot stop the hurricanes from coming, or any kind of storm, or earthquake or flood, but we can be prepared,” South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said in a meeting with Beaufort officials Friday.
State agencies hit the streets up and down South Carolina’s coast Wednesday morning to practice evacuation lane reversals, here in Beaufort on HWY 278 and 21.
“We just doing the exercise, we not actually reversing lanes, but once we get the actual traffic in there, you know things happen ’cause the people not used to driving on the opposite side of the roadway,” said Jones, “At this particular time you can drive on the opposite side of the road so we have all traffic flowing in one direction.”
Jones says evacuation ran smoothly for Hurricane Matthew, but with only two ways out of Beaufort County, it’s important to keep practicing.
“We get new people in new places, so we just wanna make sure everybody’s on the same page. This is a joint effort,” he said.
But it’s not only practice that makes evacuation run smoothly it’s also the residents
“People, they didn’t wait to the last minute,” Jones said, “When they started heeding the warnings, they started evacuating, so everybody wouldn’t leave at the same way, so that helped us out with the lane reversal.”
Lane reversal is only used for evacuating; when it comes time for re-entry, it works best if people follow their assigned zones.
“People coming back in… if you come in at the time when your zone is allotted to come in, then that will get traffic in in a reasonable amount of time,” said Jones.
To find out which zone you live in and more information on evacuation routes, you can view the South Carolina 2017 Hurricane Guide here.