The 2013 hurricane season started June 1, and South
Carolina will make sure it's ready by going through a major hurricane drill
State and local agencies will be involved in practicing what they would
do to reverse traffic to evacuate people from the coast
The Highway Patrol and SC DOT, two of the main agencies
involved, will have people and equipment set up at entrances to I-26 between
Columbia and Charleston, for example.
Crews will do everything except actually
block cars from getting on the highway headed toward Charleston, which is what
they would do during an actual evacuation.
LCpl. Brent Kelly of the Highway Patrol says, "Everybody
that's involved with the drill will know exactly what they need to do and
exactly where they need to go, so that we can get everybody off of the coast as
quickly and safely as possible."
Drivers will see those crews also on U.S. 501, S.C. 544,
U.S. 378 and U.S. 21.
Crews from the Department of Natural Resources, State
Law Enforcement Division, Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services,
State Forestry Commission, Civil Air Patrol, South Carolina National Guard and
local law enforcement will take part.
The state created a lane-reversal plan after Hurricane
Floyd in 1999. Then-governor Jim Hodges decided not to block I-26 headed into
Charleston and reverse lanes so drivers could use all of them to get away from
the coast. That led to bumper-to-bumper traffic from Charleston all the way to
Even if you don't live near the coast or won't be
visiting there during hurricane season, a hurricane evacuation could affect you.
Highway Patrol Commander Col. Mike Oliver says, "On a full coastal evacuation,
of those 760-some-odd troopers that we have today, we will send 510 of those
troopers to support the full coastal evacuation. That leaves a very small amount
of troopers to continue day-to-day operations in our field
LCpl. Kelly says, "The biggest thing would be is just be
patient with us, 'cause if they ever do that evacuation, that's going to tie a
lot of troopers up, 'cause the main goal is clearing that coast out to get those
people away from the coast. But if something happens in the Upstate, the message
is just to be patient with us. If something does happen, we will get to you; it
just make a little bit longer, but we will get