If you’re new to Hilton Head, you might not be familiar with hurricane season. It officially begins June 1 every year and runs through the end of November. While the Lowcountry has had a few scares the past two years, the last hurricane to truly impact Hilton Head Island was Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Matthew hit the Lowcountry as a Category 2 storm, causing widespread damage across the island. Hilton Head PSD had a tremendous response to the storm:
- No tap water quality problems incurred from the storm.
- All tap water production facilities were fully operational within 24 hours after the storm, and normal tap water distribution system pressure was restored within 48 hours after the storm.
- The PSD repaired 20 broken water mains, scores of broken private water service lines and saw no broken sewer mains or private sewer lines.
- Wastewater treatment plant was fully functional within hours after the storm.
- PSD’s automated meter reading infrastructure continued to function normally.
- And there was only a small number of isolated sewer manhole overflows due to use of the sewer system prior to power restoration.
Keep in touch this hurricane season
While Hilton Head PSD did not see any lasting effects from Hurricane Matthew, it’s still important to remember that the public water and sewer system could be seriously impacted by a hurricane. Remember to follow all public advisories related to utility service availability in the aftermath of a hurricane — and do not expect to have utility services immediately available.
To receive updates from the PSD in the event of a hurricane:
- Follow official advisories from the Town of Hilton Head Island Emergency Management, which will contain updates about utility services.
- Follow local news media.
- Visit our Hilton Head PSD Facebook page.
- Call our automated info line at (843) 681-0555
Early preparation will make hurricane season easier
- A crank or battery-powered weather radio
- Mobile device chargers
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- Non-perishable food for at least 3 days
- Plastic dishes, eating utensils<
- Any prescription medications and a first aid kit
- Sunscreen, sunglasses and bug spray
- Personal hygiene items
- Blankets, towels and clothing
- All of your important documents
- Enough cash to fill your vehicle with gas
- Pet supplies
- At least 2 gallons of water per person per day (plus water for any pets)
Remember to store drinking water in clean, non-corrosive, tightly covered containers and keep those containers in a cool, dark location.
Don’t drink the bathtub water
If a hurricane does head this way, fill up your bathtub with water. But do not drink this water! Instead, use the water you collect in the tub for sanitary or other non-drinking purposes.
You also should shut off your home’s water before a hurricane hits. Your water can be shut off at the main valve. It’s important that everyone in your home knows where this valve is located and how to turn it off. Typically, this valve will be located on the customer side of the meter box or just outside the point where the service line penetrates the foundation of the house. PSD technicians will not be available to turn off your shut off valve in the event of a hurricane — so locate this valve now as part of your emergency planning.
Turn off all electrical appliances in your home that use water prior to a hurricane’s arrival, such as your water heater. This ensures that they will not create a safety hazard if they lose water. You should also locate the valves on all of your appliances — including your washing machine and toilet — in case you ever need to turn them off.
For more information on hurricanes and how to prepare, check out these sites: