Planning is better managed if we look at hurricane preparation as not just seasonal but year-round. The following are some suggestions to help you plan for you and your family in the event of a hurricane affecting our area.
Home Evacuation Plan
- Know where ahead of time you will go in case you are told to evacuate. Choose more than one location. Make sure you notify family and friends where you are going and how they can contact you.
- Make sure you have an alternate route to your evacuation location. Major roads may be jammed with traffic or rerouted. Take a map!
- There are six basic items you should stock in your home. Water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools, and emergency supplies. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy to carry container, such as plastic or vinyl container with a lid, a backpack, or a duffel bag. For a detailed listing of items to put in your kit, go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency link below.
- For evacuation purposes, have important family documents ready to take with you. Insurance policies, wills, immunization records, bank account numbers, written and video inventory of valuable household goods, family records (birth, marriage, death certificates), and photos.
- If a hurricane threatens Wrightsville Beach, visit this website often and stay tuned to local media for evacuation instructions.
- Residents and business owners must present specific types of identification to re-enter the Town of Wrightsville Beach following a mandatory hurricane evacuation. Contractors, property managers, caretakers, media, and boat owners will also need special re-entry passes. Different types of identification are required depending on user need or function.
Residents and Property Owners – Vehicle Tax Decals which also serve as a means of identification for re-entry should a hurricane event occur, are issued by Lanier Parking located at 321 Causeway Drive. The decals are to be affixed to vehicles and will be required for access to the area following a community-wide evacuation. Section 70.36 of the Town’s code of ordinances requires that a current identification decal be placed inside the lower left-hand corner of the vehicles’ windshield. We encourage residents and property owners to purchase Vehicle Tax Decals early. When a hurricane is forecasted to threaten Wrightsville Beach, Town Hall will continue selling decals during a Hurricane Watch status (hurricane conditions possible within 48 hours). Dispensing of decals will cease when a Hurricane Warning is issued (hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours). Vehicle Tax Decals are $5 each when purchased after March 31st. For additional details please call Town Hall at 256-7900.
Businesses, Marinas, Boat Owners, Contractors, Property Managers, and Caretakers – Hurricane Re-Entry Passes are issued by the Wrightsville Beach Police Department and are available for pick up starting April 1st of each year. Passes may be obtained at the front desk of the Police Department Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM (excluding holidays). Passes should be retained for the duration of the season. For additional details, please call the Wrightsville Beach Police Department at 910-256-7945.
Have on hand plywood, nails, screws, and other materials to cover your windows and protect your home. The winter months are a perfect time to purchase and cut to fit the plywood you need.
Know how to cut off your utilities to your home. Write down the instructions. Make sure all family members know how to turn off and secure the utilities. Turn off electricity at the main panel.
If you use LP gas, valve off the tanks. If your house has a water shut-off valve, turn it off. If you have a dock or pier, shut off the water to it also. If your home or pier does not have an accessible water shut-off, have a plumber install one for you.
Check and review your insurance policies with your agent. Make sure you have the coverage that you need. The onset of a hurricane is not the time to find out you do not have the insurance that you thought you had. If you are a renter, make sure you have renter's insurance. Check your flood insurance. If you have questions, visit the NFIP web site by clicking here.
The Town of Wrightsville Beach has in place an ordinance requiring all LP gas cylinders in flood-prone areas to be anchored. If they are not, or you have questions, call the Fire Department at 256-7920.
During Hurricane season, it is important that you make arrangements to take care of your pets. Leaving them home after an evacuation is not the answer. Begin crate training early, as this will reduce the stress on your dog/cat when they must be crated for a length of time.
Look into pet friendly hotels/motels/shelters where you may seek refuge. If you stay with friends or family, be sure your pets are also welcome. This will save you a lot of time when time is essential.
If you have any questions or need help with your plan of action, do not hesitate to call the Wrightsville Beach Park Ranger at (910) 256-7937, ext. 1751.
Additional preparation and planning is required if you have a boat. Whether you trailer, moor, or anchor, additional equipment will be needed. Early preparation and planning are the key! Here are a few tips to help boaters develop their own hurricane preparedness plan:
- Purchase and stow line specifically for hurricane use. As a general rule, line should be twice the diameter of your normal line.
- Monitor National Weather Service marine broadcasts (162.550 MHz). Pay close attention to local TV and radio for information on how the hurricane will affect our area. Be ready to take action if an evacuation order is given.
- All boat hurricane preparations should be completed 48 hours before a hurricane arrives. This will allow you to concentrate on your family and home.
- Secure all hatches and tape all windows from the inside.
- Check the batteries for a full charge and make sure bilge pumps are working.
- Shut off all fuel lines and close thru hull fittings.
- Remove all electronics to prevent destruction or theft.
- If you have a trailerable boat, remove the boat from the water and secure both boat and trailer to high land. Trailer should be firmly anchored to prevent or minimize damage.
- If you have a boat at a dock, DO NOT STAY ON YOUR BOAT! Remove all articles on deck including bimini top, side curtains, sails and dinghies. Store these items ashore. If possible unstep the mast and secure it ashore. Double up lines including spring lines. Use several cleats to distribute the load on the boat. Allow as much line as possible for tide and storm surge. Attach chafing gear such as reinforced radiator hose where lines will rub. Disconnect electric, water, and other connections from the dock.
- If you will be anchoring out, DO NOT STAY ON YOUR BOAT! Have a pre-planned "hurricane hole". Avoid shoal areas and look for areas with high embankments. Consult responsible marine literature for best anchorage and anchoring methods.
- In all cases, make sure your insurance is up to date and adequate for your needs.
- A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible in a specified area within 72 hours. This is the time to buy perishable goods and those items with a shelf life such as batteries. Put your plan into action.
- A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions will affect a specified area within 36 hours. All of your storm preparations should be complete. At this point officials will be making determinations if and when evacuations will be necessary. All flood zones should be ready to evacuate. The entire community of Wrightsville Beach is a flood zone. Be ready!
- Unfortunately, many people believe that they have been through a major hurricane when in reality, the nature of storms we have experienced have been mild to moderate in intensity. We have not experienced a strong category three, four, or five hurricane. Hurricane Fran in 1996 produced an 11 foot storm surge here at Wrightsville Beach. Hurricane Hugo in 1989 produced a 20 foot storm surge in South Carolina. A 20 foot storm surge would be catastrophic. When the next hurricane comes, pay close attention to weather updates and bulletins. A house is not worth losing your life.
- After the storm, stay away from downed power lines and ponding water. Wait until an area is declared safe before entering. Do not drive into flooded areas. Do not "sight-see". Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until you know for certain it is not contaminated. Avoid using candles or other open flames indoors. Use flashlights and battery operated lanterns. When you return home, be prepared for the worst. If things aren't too bad, your spirits will be lifted. Keeping a good outlook on things is very important.
- For additional information on Hurricane Preparedness, please stop by the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department located at 3 Bob Sawyer Drive.
Following an evacuation
It is in the best interest of the Town and community to ensure safety on the Island and get individuals back into their homes as efficiently as possible. Please be patient with us. Unrestricted access will be allowed to the general public once properties are secured and the Town of Wrightsville Beach has had adequate time to recover.
Hurricane Information Links