Proudly Serving the Citizens of Beaufort County, South Carolina

For emergencies, call 9-1-1.

How to evacuate during a hurricane

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
hurricane evacuation

Preparedness is key to safely evacuating the areas during a hurricane.

Know yourself and have your plan ready. Create a hurricane emergency kit with water, medications, flashlight, first aid kit and other necessities. Think about any additional items you may need like batteries for hearing aids and similar devices, extra oxygen tanks, electrical backups for medical equipment, or special food requirements.

Put your most important identification and medical records into a digital format for easy safekeeping and quicker movement because paper documents can easily get misplaced or damaged during a significant weather event.

Prepare an emergency plan and make sure every member of your family knows what to do if they aren’t home when an emergency is declared.

Resources to help you create an emergency plan:

Finding shelter and transportation during a hurricane evacuation

Those who require a special medical needs shelter are asked to contact the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) hotline at 855-472-3432 for assistance.

Shelters in Beaufort County are only opened during a tropical storm. For more information, read about what you can expect from storm shelters in the Lowcountry here. If a shelter is opened for Beaufort County residents and guests during an weather event, click here for the S.C. Emergency Management Division website. The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office also will keep you updated.

If you require transportation to shelters, register as soon as possible with Palmetto Breeze by clicking here. Call their evacuation hotline at 843-757-5782 to make those arrangements. Or for more information about public evacuation transportation, click here.

Beaufort County hurricane evacuation routes

What to know about the bridges during a hurricane:

In the event of an approaching hurricane, the South Carolina Department of Transportation will shut down the operation of swinging bridges and draw bridges for all marine (boat) traffic when:

  • Sustained winds reach 25 mph
  • A mandatory evacuation is ordered

Important resources for hurricane evacuations:

Hilton Head Island:

  • Hilton Head Island evacuees will use both the William Hilton Parkway (US 278 Business) and the Cross Island Parkway (US 278).
  • As these two roads merge, a third lane will be formed by reversing flow on the inside eastbound lane of US 278. This lane will carry traffic to the three lane section beginning on the mainland.

Lane assignments will be as follows:

  1. The right lane on US 278 westbound will exit onto SC 170, proceed to SC 462, then be directed to I-95 northbound at I-95 exit 28.
  2. The center lane on US 278 westbound will become the right lane at SC 170 which will be directed to I-95 northbound at exit 8.
  3. The left lane on US 278 westbound at SC 170 will continue on
    US 278 to Hampton and eventually to North Augusta.


Two-Lane Evacuation:

Evacuees will use the two present northbound lanes on US 21 to US 17. Upon reaching US 17, the right lane will be directed to US 17 north to SC 303 to Walterboro. The left lane will be directed to US 17 south, then to US 17 Alt / US 21 to Yemassee and then ultimately to North Augusta.

Three-Lane Evacuation:

Under certain conditions, a third northbound lane will be formed by reversing flow in the inside southbound lane of US 21 at US 21 Business west of Beaufort, accommodating traffic from US 21.

This reversed lane will be directed to US 17 southbound and eventually I-95 northbound at exit 33 (Point South). The remaining two lanes will be used as described above for the two-lane evacuation.