Hurricane and Evacuation/Re-Entry Information

The 2024 South Carolina Hurricane Season begins June 1 and runs until November 30. Check out the SC Emergency Management Division's hurricane website with all the resources you need to stay safe at SCEMD. This year’s Disaster Awareness Day will be held on Friday, May 31 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sandcastle! We have an exciting lineup this year and hope you can join us to learn more about how you and your loved ones can prepare for this upcoming hurricane season. Register to attend here
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Prepare Ahead and Sign Up for Emergency Alerts
Sign up for the Town’s emergency notifications system CodeRED.  CodeRED is used to communicate to residents in emergency situations or critical community alerts such as evacuation notices, boil water notices, tornado warnings, and flash flood notices.

*If you're unsure if you are signed up, register your information again. You won't receive duplicate messages if you sign up a second time. 

Emergency Alerts Sign Up Button


Helpful Preparedness Resources
To learn more about how to prepare for coastal-related disasters, please see the following guides: 

SC Hurricane Guide
Charleston County Hurricane Information
Kiawah Emergency Preparedness Plan


Bill Walsh DA 2024Participate in Disaster Awareness Day 

This year, the Town of Kiawah Island, in partnership with the Town of Seabrook Island, is hosting Disaster Awareness Day on Friday, May 31, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Sandcastle. 

This year's event features an exciting lineup to include presentations from Channel 5 Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh and real-life hurricane experience from Charleston County Emergency Management Director Joe Coates. It also includes state, county, and island entities that directly respond during weather emergencies and prize drawings during the event. 

The event will be moderated by Channel 4's Trooper Bob. This event is an opportunity to learn about the upcoming hurricane season, how to prepare your home and family for the season, and procedures before, during, and after hurricanes.

The full agenda is available here
The community is invited to attend and asked to register here.

Evacuation Procedures

When a hurricaevacuation graphic - Copyne threatens South Carolina’s coast, you may plan to leave voluntarily or be ordered to evacuate. In South Carolina, only 
the governor can issue a mandatory evacuation order. Your local county and municipal officials are following the Governor's directive. They may enact local measures to support and augment an evacuation order as needed for public safety. The Town of Kiawah Island Mayor will issue a Proclamation and close the Island after the Governor has issued a mandatory evacuation order. In addition, the Mayor will issue a recommendation to evacuate the island.

By evacuating early, you will be able to pick your own evacuation route. If you wait for an evacuation order, you will be told which route to take. You could be stuck in traffic, and you may not be able to find accommodations. Vehicles may be prohibited from crossing bridges due to strong winds. You are strongly encouraged to leave early before an evacuation order.

BE ADVISED. After an evacuation order is issued, Kiawah Island Utility and Berkeley Electric may turn off their services. If you choose to remain on the island, you may not have power or water until a thorough post-disaster damage assessment has been performed. There will be no medical, fire, rescue, or police assistance available on the island. Even after the event, depending on the damage to the island, you may not get assistance for several days. After an evacuation order is issued, water and electrical utility workers, law enforcement, fire department, EMS, and KICA security will leave the island when it is no longer safe to stay.


Zone A

EVACUATION ZONE
Kiawah/Seabrook Island is in ZONE A. When an evacuation order is issued, local authorities will announce evacuations for the county by predesignated zones. Local authorities will announce evacuations by designated zones.

EVACUATION ROUTE
If an evacuation order is issued, Evacuees from Kiawah/Seabrook Islands will take Road S-20 (Bohicket/Main Rd.) to US 17. They will then take US 17 south to SC 64. SC 64, where you will go to Walterboro, then to North Augusta.

IN THE EVENT OF A EVACUATION, THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS WILL BE TAKEN:
  • The Mayor signs a Proclamation to close the Gates. 
  • KICA Security will ultimately block the incoming gate to all but emergency and official vehicles.
  • Providing its equipment is not being used, the St. John’s/Kiawah Island fire personnel will broadcast the evacuation orders throughout the island using loudspeakers.
  • When an evacuation is complete, the Kiawah Emergency Operations Center (including the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem, Town Administrator, Finance Director, Communication Manager, and KICA's COO) will be relocated to an offsite location, as determined by the Mayor.
Post-Storm and Re-Entry
The condition and safety of the island will be reviewed by the Town and KICA officials before any property owners will be allowed to return. Re-entry procedures will vary depending on the severity of the natural disaster. Still, they will generally be performed in stages to facilitate an orderly return to the Island following an evacuation. The time lapse between Stage 1 to Stage 4 could be hours, days, or weeks depending on the event's severity.

Phase 1: Initial Damage Assessment of the Island. Town's Building Department Services, along with the assistance of KICA's representatives, will assess the damage to the island and report the findings back to the Town Mayor and Administrator and KICA's COO. 

Phase 2: Continued Assessment of the Island. Along with the Initial Damage Assessment Team, others such as insurance adjusters, regime, and property managers are allowed on the island to do a general assessment of their assets or properties they manage and report additional findings to the Town and KICA. 

Phase 3: Critical needs personnel and Disaster Response Team. Will include Town, KICA, KIGR, KP, KI Utility, Berkeley Electric, and other emergency personnel. These entities will coordinate recovery activities. Coordination will continue until the Island has been substantially restored to pre-storm conditions.

Phase 4: Once the ALL CLEAR has been given and the Mayor lifts the Proclamation closing the island, residents and property owners will be allowed to return.

REMEMBER You will be wasting your time if you attempt to return to the Island before the ALL CLEAR has been given by Town officials. Re-entry information will be disseminated via CodeRED, email notifications, the Town website, and social media.

Damage Assessments
The Town will complete a preliminary damage assessment which entails Town building officials performing a windshield survey looking for visible structural damage to commercial and private properties (i.e., structures torn apart or dismantled). The purpose of the inspection is only to identify where obvious major damage has occurred. It does not consider damage such as missing shingles, damaged siding, trees that have fallen on cars, etc.

Following any hurricane, there is always the potential for trees to fall at a later time, causing significant structural damage to houses. If you return from evacuation and find structural damage to your home, please call the Town at 843-768-9166.

If the assessment shows structural damage to a property, the damage assessment team will issue a red placard that signifies the structure is “unsafe” and no entry is permitted.
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A yellow placard signifies that the structure is “restricted for use.” These structures have received some form of damage, and only the area identified is prohibited from entering.
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A green placard signifies that the structure has been inspected and is “okay to occupy.”
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