Lowcountry prepares for Hurricane Hermine - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Lowcountry prepares for Hurricane Hermine

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) -

Crews and agencies in the Lowcountry are working around the clock to make sure they are prepared for Hurricane Hermine.

The Town of Bluffton's Emergency Management Division announced Wednesday they were operating at an early stage of response, simply keeping an eye on the storm. As conditions worsened Thursday, the division has now decided to beef up their response.

They will now operate at Opcon Level 3, which includes a plan to equip the town's emergency operation center. It will be full of public safety partners and town officials to monitor the storm, check traffic cameras for roadside incidents, and keep track of all responses - starting at 8 a.m. Friday.

"Everybody has a different role and its critical to the service of our community so we all have to work together planning has a different job than operations does with logistics and all so all together we try to handle business," said Christian Gonzales, Emergency Manager.

Like most coastal cities and towns, marinas and harbors come by the dozen on Hilton Head Island.

Meanwhile, crews have also been working hard to make sure all of the boats are secure ahead of the storm.

Their checklist includes monitoring the weather for time frames of impact and making sure any detached items are removed from the boats so they don't fly around as the winds start to pick up.

The marina will also get in touch with boat owners to make sure they know their responsibilities, like making sure their billage pumps are working properly. That pump is used to get rid of any water that may enter the boat because as the vessel takes on water, it starts to sit differently.

This is why the marina's biggest concern is storm surge.

"The time that the storm actually hits here it will be a big difference if it hits during low tide or high tide, so if we're expecting a high tide and storm surge the storm hits at that time it's going to bring a surge of extra water and that water has to go somewhere. You'll see here all these banks that water is going to go up higher and that means everything here is going to be lifted because all these docks are floating," said Paul Buskey, Harbor Master at Hilton Head Marina.

When it comes to smaller vessels, the marina will follow the advisories of the coast guard, which prohibits small crafts on the water when winds reach 15 miles per hour or higher.

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