Hurricane Dorian preparations under way

A cross is seen painted on a church boarded up in St. Augustine, Fla., on Sept. 2 ahead of Hurricane Dorian. (CNS photo/Maria Alejandra Cardona, Reuters)

CHARLESTON—As Hurricane Dorian approaches, here are some important things to help keep you and your family safe.

The most essential thing to know is your evacuation zone and to leave as soon as possible if you are ordered to evacuate. Check, as areas of Beaufort, Berkley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester and Jasper are already under evacuation orders.

This map from the S.C. Department of Transportation will show you the exits on I-26 that are open or closed during the lane reversal operation: lane reversal map. The GPS on your phone may not have correct information on road closures; follow the blue reversal signs and the instructions of officials on the highway.

Try to keep your gas tank at least half-full and your cell phone charged. Please remember that pets are family too, and the likelihood of them surviving will depend on the planning you do. Pet-friendly shelters and hotels are available: Make sure you contact family so they know where you are and where you plan to evacuate.

Once the storm passes, please be patient. You may not be able to return home right away.

If you are planning to remain in a mandatory evacuation zone, understand the risks and stay tuned to local television and radio stations for emergency information. Stay inside of a well-constructed building and away from windows and doors. Tornadoes are very often spawned during hurricanes; if there’s an emergency, go to an interior first-floor room, closet, or under the stairs.

Make sure to limit non-emergency calls and send text messages instead of calling when possible. The S.C. Emergency Management Division has two phone numbers to call, which are staffed 24/7. For public information, call 866-246-0133 and for SCDOT, call 855-467-2368.

Download the SCEMD hurricane guide here: SCEMD 2019 Hurricane Guide

Editor’s note: The offices of The Catholic Miscellany in the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., are closed until further notice due to Hurricane Dorian. We pray for everyone’s safety.

“O Heavenly Father, all the elements of nature obey Your commands, including hurricanes. Calm the storms that threaten us and turn our fear of Your power into praise of Your goodness.

Grant this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.”