Charleston-based Coast Guard braces for Tropical Storm Hanna

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Captain of the Port for Charleston, Port Royal and Georgetown, S.C., has established port readiness condition Zulu at 9 a.m., Friday, for coastal South Carolina due to the potential impacts from Tropical Storm Hanna.

The Ports of Charleston, Port Royal and Georgetown are closed to all inbound vessel traffic immediately while in this port condition; however, cruise ship traffic is not anticipated to be affected.

Additional information will be provided after post-storm port assessments are conducted. Ports will be re-opened as quickly as possible.

The Coast Guard is warning the public of these important safety messages:

Stay off the water. The Coast Guard’s search and rescue capabilities degrade as storm conditions strengthen. This means help could be delayed. That is why boaters should heed weather watches, warnings and small craft advisories.

Evacuate as necessary. If mandatory evacuations are set for an area, the public should evacuate without delay. Coast Guard personnel and other emergency responders may not be able to evacuate those in danger during the storm.

Secure belongings. Owners of larger boats are urged to move their boats to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or sustaining damage. Trailerable boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, lifejackets and small boats. These items, if not secured properly, can break free and require valuable search and rescue resources be diverted to ensure they are not actually people in distress.

Stay clear of beaches. Wave heights and currents typically increase before a storm makes landfall. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by Hanna.

Be prepared. Area residents should prepare in advance by developing a family plan, creating a disaster supply kit, having a place to go, securing their home and having a plan for pets.

Stay informed. The public should monitor the progress and strength of Hanna through local television, radio and internet. Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF radio channel 16. Information can also be obtained on small craft advisories and warnings on VHF radio channel 16.

For information on the progress of Hanna and hurricane preparedness, please visit the National Hurricane Center’s web page at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

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