Hurricane Florence has weakened somewhat over the open Atlantic Ocean, but will remain a formidably strong hurricane and may pose a threat to Bermuda and parts of the East Coast of the United States next week.
As of Thursday morning, Florence was centered just over 1,000 miles east-southeast of Bermuda, moving northwest.
For now, this is nothing to be too concerned about since there is a large amount of uncertainty in this long-range forecast, but we will continue to monitor the storm track and provide more updates as warranted.
Disaster Response and Early Response Team leaders for the South Carolina Conference have begun discussing how the conference can respond, should the need arise. The most likely scenario at this point is that conference ERTs would respond out of state.
In the meantime, churches along the coast are urged to go over their hurricane preparation list, double-check insurance coverages, and make sure they know the most current evacuation routes. The chances of Hurricane Florence making a major impact on the South Carolina coast are low at this point, but now is the time to make sure you are prepared.
Gather your staff and review your disaster plan today. No disaster plan? Put that at the top of your to-do list.
What to do now
- If you have a disaster plan, make sure everyone has a printed copy to take home. An electronic version may be useless if you lose power.
- Make sure staff, volunteer, and board contact lists are up to date. Determine how you will communicate with one another before, during, and after the storm.
- Make sure your insurance information is readily available.
- If you don’t already have up-to-date images (photographic/video) of your church’s facility’s exterior and interior, including storage areas, now’s the time to take them. Being able to illustrate how your buildings looked before damage will be helpful if the need arises to pursue recovery financing.
- Back up electronic records and store the back-ups off-site or in the cloud.
- Secure outdoor furniture, bike racks, book drops, etc. – anything that can become a projectile in strong winds.
- Move book, file and photo collections that are in areas vulnerable to flooding – i.e., the floor, the basement – or susceptible to rain – near windows or under roofs.
- Know the location and shut-off procedures for water, electricity, and gas.
- Review individual or family plans. You’ll feel better attending to your church knowing that your loved ones are safe.
- For tips on what to do before, during, and after a hurricane, go to .
- Download FEMA fact sheets “After the Flood: Advice for Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures” and “Salvaging Water-Damaged Family Valuables and Heirlooms.”
- Familiarize yourself with FEMA’s disaster declaration process, in case one is declared for South Carolina.
- Make sure you have contact information for your district superintendent and district disaster response coordinator.