Ahead of the Storm: Bluffton mayor wants all new residents to prepare for hurricane season

Published: May. 30, 2023 at 7:33 AM EDT
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BLUFFTON, S.C. (WTOC) - The beauty and small town feel of Bluffton has been drawing families into Beaufort County more than any town across the Palmetto State.

“Complacy and constant education because you see it just in our town, estimated you’re seeing probably 3500 or more new people that move here; brand new house or buy a house,” said Mayor Lisa Sulka.

Mayor Lisa Sulka is on the front lines of educating our new neighbors about hurricane season.

“I think they don’t come from the coast; they are a little unsure about it. But when I think when it comes down to it, if you’re on social media and you see, ‘Well, I left and I couldn’t get back in.’ or ‘It’s nothing.’ I think, everyone wants to tend to believe the easy.”

Instead of social media, Mayor Sulka encourages residents to look on the town’s website and look at the map gallery. There you can find flood information and evacuation routes. Those routes are the mandatory evacuation routes. If you plan ahead and leave before that order, you can travel on your terms.

“The county is going to force you to go somewhere when there’s a mandatory evacuation. You’re going to have to go down A road because there’s no turning right or left, so you’re going to be forced to go towards Columbia. If you voluntary evacuate, I would look inland somewhere: Walterboro, Columbia, you know, go to Jacksonville if it looks like it’s coming to Charleston. There’s many things to do PRE but when that governor says mandatory evacuation, you see highway patrol, you see blockades, and that’s the way you’re going to go my friend.”

While Sulka knows everyone won’t head warnings she’ll always remember the ones that didn’t and didn’t fare too well as a cautionary tale.

“Someone fell down the stairwell, and we got the call, I was there. We couldn’t go out. So, he had to lay there all night into the morning until EMS was given the okay to go back out and check. So, do you want to do that?”

She wants the most vulnerable and families with small children to be the first go.

“I’m not going to go to sleep at night and think I didn’t try.”