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Hurricane season is here


June 03, 2015   By Kevin F. Langston in Storms and Outages

The Atlantic hurricane season began on Monday, June 1, and goes through Monday, Nov. 30. Although this season got off to an early start with Tropical Storm Ana, activity typically peaks between mid-August and late October.

Hurricane season is an especially tense time of year for us and other electric utilities, because hurricanes and other tropical cyclones can have devastating effects on our power-delivery systems.

Santee Cooper's retail service area in Berkeley, Georgetown, and Horry counties is prone to tropical cyclones. With the annual arrival of hurricane season, we meticulously evaluate our emergency plans to make sure we're prepared for any major weather events that could impact our system. Winds from even the weakest of hurricanes are capable of producing widespread power outages.

When severe weather like a tropical cyclone — or, more recently, a winter storm — threatens our service area, we activate a range of emergency plans throughout Santee Cooper. The common goal is to be ready to respond accordingly. We review and practice these plans annually to make sure they benefit from past experiences and best practices.

Disaster planning is something we encourage our employees and customers to do personally, as well, because severe weather doesn't merely affect us as utility workers. Our loved ones, our neighbors, our homes, and our communities are also impacted.

If you have an emergency plan, we hope you'll take the time before hurricane season heats up to review it with your loved ones. If you don't have a plan, the Ready.gov website has loads of helpful information. Some additional things to consider are whether you live in an evacuation zone and what your nearest evacuation route would be.

If it looks like a tropical cyclone will affect Santee Cooper's retail service area, we urge you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest in storm/outage-related information. Customers can also report or monitor outages online at our Storm Center or by calling 1-888-769-7688.

Remember, just because the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association is predicting a below-normal hurricane season doesn't mean we should be complacent — especially if we live near or along the coast. Don't let severe weather catch you off guard this hurricane season.