When you live and play in paradise, occasionally the same forces that created the comfortable climate and lush landscape can damage them. On the Charleston beaches, the same forces that create balmy breezes and warm waves can also bring high winds, heavy rain and, in rare instances, a hurricane.
Because we are situated along the eastern seaboard, Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, and Goat Island are occasionally threatened by tropical storms — a generic name for a low-pressure weather systems with organized thunderstorm activity and circular winds. Fortunately, unlike with earthquakes and tsunamis, modern-day tropical weather forecasting provides ample time for preparation to protect visitors and residents.
While in recent years we have been extremely fortunate to not have experienced extreme weather, our tropical climate does make Charleston and the Lowcountry susceptible to tropical storms and hurricanes. Traditionally, the Atlantic hurricane "season" runs from June 1 to November 30, but storms outside of this range are always possible. Island Realty does have policies in place and is prepared in the event of tropical activity.
Both the City of Isle of Palms and the town of Sullivan's Island have emergency preparedness pages on their websites to inform guests and residents about impending storms. The pages provide crucial information to help visitors safely exit the islands in the event a hurricane threatens the region. These websites provide honest and trustworthy information about traveling to the Charleston area, and advises people when it is not appropriate to travel in the event of a storm threat.
Island Realty has developed a list of 'Frequently Asked Questions' below to provide factual information about hurricanes and how to safely and conveniently travel to the beaches during the summer and fall. Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, and Goat Island are all wonderful, safe beach destinations, but it is always important to be prepared in the event of a storm or hurricane.
In the event of tropical activity, we do anticipate higher than usual call volume. We appreciate your patience and all calls will be answered in the order that they were received. For the most up-to-date information, please monitor media outlets for weather-related updates, including bridge and road closures in the Charleston area. We recommend Live 5 News.
For more information, please visit:
Live 5 News
NOAA: National Hurricane Center
Post and Courier
Isle of Palms Emergency Preparedness Page
Sullivan's Island Emergency Preparedness Page
Frequently Asked Questions:
When is Hurricane Season?
The Atlantic hurricane season formally begins June 1 and ends November 30. Historically, the chances of hurricane activity are greatest between August 15 and October 1. Between 1900 and 2000, only 14 hurricanes have made landfall along South Carolina’s coast.
Can I Travel to Charleston's Beaches During Hurricane Season?
Absolutely! The Charleston Beaches are very popular with vacationers in the summer and fall months. Many great events are scheduled during that time, such as Restaurant Week and the Fall Tour of Homes in historic Charleston. Late summer and early fall typically offers the best vacation values because school is back in session and family vacationing is slower.
What is the Difference Between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning?
A hurricane watch means a hurricane may threaten coastal and inland areas, and that hurricane conditions are a real possibility. It does NOT mean they are imminent. A hurricane warning is issued when a hurricane is expected to strike within 24 hours.
What Can I Do to Protect My Vacation Plans?
Per the rental agreement (item 5D) Island Realty is not responsible for weather or other Acts of God and there will be no refunds. For this reason, we highly recommend you purchase travel insurance which protects you from losses you may incur due to unforeseen circumstances. The travel insurance offered is through Red Sky and is an additional 7.75% of your total rental charge. The travel insurance coverage is quite comprehensive and covers you and everyone in your party. If there is a mandatory hurricane evacuation, if weather prevents you from arriving (road closures, bridge closures, etc) or if weather delays your arrival, you are covered under this policy. If you choose not to occupy your property because of a voluntary evacuation, you will not receive a refund. For more information regarding purchasing and the coverage of travel insurance, please view the travel insurance page.
Should I Call Island Realty With My Questions?
In the event of tropical activity, we anticipate higher than usual call volume. We appreciate your patience and your call will be answered in the order it was received. For the most up-to-date information, please monitor media outlets for weather related information. For information including bridge closures in the Charleston area, we recommendLive 5 News.
What Will Happen in a Voluntary Evacuation?
Based on the National Weather Service forecasts, the County Emergency Preparedness Plan may issue a recommendation to evacuate barrier islands like the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. Once this action is taken:
- Radio and TV will broadcast the recommendation
- Wild Dunes Security will issue leaflets to all vehicles passing through the gate advising of the recommended evacuation.
- The Island Fire Departments will dispatch trucks throughout the Island broadcasting the recommendation for voluntary evacuation.
- The Municipal Emergency Operations Center (MEOC) will begin notifying area businesses and rental agencies.
What Will Happen in a Mandatory Evacuation?
- Police will restrict Island access at the Breach Inlet Bridge and IOP Connector to all except for emergency and official vehicles.
- It is possible that by the time of a mandatory evacuation order is issued, authorities will already be blocking island bound traffic from the Mount Pleasant causeways.
- Given conditions are still favorable and manpower is sufficient, the fire and police departments will go door-to-door to advise those remaining on the island of the mandatory evacuation.
- The media will broadcast the evacuation order.
- Once the fire and police personnel are required to evacuate, there will be no police or emergency medical assistance on the island and accesses will be blocked.
What is Island Realty's Policy on Hurricanes?
Island Realty will take steps to inform you of updates in the event of inclement weather, tropical activity, and bridge closures. For prompt delivery of this information, we highly recommend usage of our mobile app through which we will be able to send push notifications. We also ask that you provide us with both a cell phone number and email address. The Island Realty office will remain open with limited personnel during a voluntary evacuation, but will close upon a mandatory evacuation.