Home Buyers in St. Marys, GA

2021 Camden County Hurricane Guide

Message from
Camden County
Emergency Management Agency
Although Camden County did not receive significant effects from 2020’s record-breaking season, all residents should be aware that it only takes one storm to have a major impact on our community. Georgia residents statewide are at risk of both direct and indirect severe impacts should a storm make landfall anywhere in our region. With the Atlantic hurricane season starting on June 1st, the Camden County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge residents to take the time now to plan, prepare, and stay informed about hurricanes.
As a coastal state, and more significantly a coastal county, storms that form in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico have the potential to bring strong wind, tornadoes, storm surge, and inland flooding across Georgia. In an effort to educate residents on these potential hazards, the ready.gov campaign supports Hurricane Preparedness.
By planning ahead, you’ll ensure that you and your loved ones are safe and secure. You’ll also save yourself time, money, and worry. We hope you gain valuable knowledge by reading the Hurricane Guide provided by the Camden County Board of County Commissioners and your Camden County Emergency Management Agency.
2021 Storm Names
Ana
Bill
Claudette
Danny
Elsa
Fred
Grace
Henri
Ida
Julian
Kate
Larry
Mindy
Nicholas
Odette
Peter
Rose
Sam
Teresa
Victor
Wanda
Hurricane Forecast
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) hurricane season forecast for 2021 anticipates another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. The forecast includes 13-20 named storms (39 mph+ winds). Out of those, 6-10 storms may become hurricanes (74 mph+ winds) and 3-5 may reach major hurricane intensity (111 mph+ winds of Category 3 strength and higher).
NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which 7 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
The emergency preparedness measures that you take in preparing for any severe weather event will greatly increase your family’s chances for survival. Personal preparedness is everyone’s responsibility. The more prepared we are as individuals the better enabled we will be to not only survive but also to assist others less fortunate.
NOAA’s outlook is for overall seasonal activity and is not a landfall forecast. Hurricane preparedness is critically important for the 2021 hurricane season, just as it is every year. It only takes one storm to have a major impact on Camden County.
Hurricane Hazards
Tropical Storms and Hurricanes have the potential to bring strong wind, tornadoes, storm surge, and inland flooding across Georgia.
Strong Wind
Tropical storm-force winds are strong enough to be dangerous to those caught in them. For this reason, emergency managers plan on having their evacuations complete and their personnel sheltered before the onset of tropical storm-force winds, not hurricane-force winds.
Hurricane‐force winds, 74 mph or more, can destroy buildings and mobile homes. Debris, such as signs, roofing material, siding and small items left outside become flying missiles during hurricanes. Winds can stay above hurricane strength well inland.
Tornadoes
Hurricanes and tropical storms can also produce tornadoes. These tornadoes most often occur in thunderstorms embedded in rain bands well away from the center of the hurricane; however, they can also occur near the eyewall. Usually, tornadoes produced by tropical cyclones are relatively weak and short-lived, but they still pose a significant threat.
Storm Surge
Along the coast, storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. In the past, large death tolls have resulted from the rise of the ocean associated with many of the major hurricanes that have made landfall. Storm surge can cause major damage to your home and pose a significant threat for drownings – making it one of the greatest threats to life and property from a hurricane.
Inland Flooding
Tropical cyclones often produce widespread, torrential rains in excess of 6 inches, which may result in deadly and destructive floods. In fact, flooding is the major threat from tropical cyclones for people living inland. Flash flooding, defined as a rapid rise in water levels, can occur quickly due to intense rainfall. Longer term flooding on rivers and streams can persist for several days after the storm. When approaching water on a roadway, always remember Turn Around Don’t Drown.
Rainfall amounts are not directly related to the strength of tropical cyclones but rather to the speed and size of the storm, as well as the geography of the area. Slower moving and larger storms produce more rainfall. In addition, mountainous terrain enhances rainfall from a tropical cyclone.
Preparing for Hurricanes
Camden County is at risk for hurricanes due to our location on the Atlantic Ocean. It’s important for residents to plan ahead and gather needed supplies for at least three (3) days. Keep in mind each member of your household’s specific needs, including medication. Include cash in your emergency kit. If there are power outages, you will not be able to use credit cards or ATMs.
It’s also a good idea to keep important documents in a safe place or create password-protected digital copies. Review insurance policies.
Communication Planning
Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded. Another idea is to pick an out of town person for everyone to contact during an emergency.
Prepare for Hurricanes
  • Compile a portable Emergency Kit of emergency supplies in case you have to evacuate.
  • Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane. A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. A hurricane warning means a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
  • Prepare to secure your property.
  • Cover all of your home’s windows with pre-cut plywood or hurricane shutters to protect your windows from high winds and keep all trees and shrubs well-trimmed.
  • Make sure that you are Tech Ready as your wireless device may be your greatest resource during an emergency situation.
Stay Informed
  • Local authorities may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what you should do. However, you should watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet often for official news and instructions as it becomes available. Camden County will send out notifications to the public via CodeRED. Information will also be available through the Camden County EMA and the Camden County social media pages.
  • Be alert for tornadoes and flooding. If you see a funnel cloud or if local authorities issue a tornado warning, take shelter underground or in an interior room away from windows. If waters are rising quickly or local authorities issue a flood or flash flood warning, seek higher ground.
  • Stay away from downed power lines to avoid the risk of electric shock or electrocution.
  • Do not return home until local authorities say it is safe. Even after the hurricane and after flood waters recede, roads may be weakened and could collapse. Buildings may be unstable, and drinking water may be contaminated. Use common sense and exercise caution.
For more information on preparing for hurricanes and other severe weather, contact your Camden County EMA or visit www.ready.gov or www.gema.georgia.gov.
Hurricane Forecasts
The National Hurricane Center issues official forecasts for tropical activity. These official forecast’s include a cone that indicates the probable track of the center of the storm. It is important to note that the forecast cone does not show the size of the storm and hazardous conditions can occur outside of the cone.
With the increase of social media, it is easy to find out-dated or incorrect forecast information. In addition to the National Hurricane Center, the National Weather Service (NWS) in Jacksonville, Florida will always be a trusted source for tropical storm and hurricane-related forecasts, watches, and warnings for Camden County. It is important to get your storm information from reputable sources and have multiple ways of getting these updates, like through CodeRED.
Know Your Zone
Evacuation procedures are intended to move people in a timely and orderly fashion. Affected residents are encouraged to depart in phases according to their evacuation zone.
Zone A is considered highest risk and includes Cumberland Island, other barrier islands, Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, and low-lying areas that are vulnerable to flooding or isolation due to rising water. These areas area generally 1 to 10 feet above mean sea level. This is typically all areas east of US Highway 17.
Zone B includes areas that are 10 to 20 feet above mean sea level. This is generally all of Camden County west of US Highway 17.
Plan to Evacuate
  • Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.
  • Information on Georgia evacuation routes and road conditions may be found at Georgia 511.
  • Identify several places you could go in an emergency- a friend’s home in another town or a hotel or motel in a different city.
  • Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
CodeRED
Camden County and the cities of Kingsland, St. Marys, and Woodbine have partnered together to utilize CodeRED to provide emergency notifications and severe weather warnings to their residents.
Camden County residents can register their homes to receive notifications and severe weather warnings as they are issued by local officials or the National Weather Service (NWS) in Jacksonville, Florida. Due to advances in technology these warnings are now issued just for the threatened area.
Camden County residents can register their address and telephone numbers to receive a message from the CodeRED messaging system warning them of emergencies or impending severe weather within seconds of being issued by local officials or the NWS.
You can register landlines or cell phones. A TDD/TTY option is available for the hearing impaired. There is also a text messaging function available for cell phone users.
Weather Warning is a feature of CodeRED that requires no action from local officials. As the warnings are issued by the NWS, Code Red will automatically send warning to the phone numbers that are registered to receive this service.
To register your address and phone number(s) for emergency notifications you must enter your information with CodeRED. If you are unsure if you are registered, we encourage you to register again.
Insurance Checkup
Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance checkup to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. As a reminder, standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding.
Flood Insurance is an important component of preparing for potential tropical weather. A flood insurance policy generally takes effect 30 days after purchase, and homeowners and renters insurance do not typically cover flood damage.
Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, and it can occur almost anywhere — not just in high-risk areas. On average, 25 to 30 percent of all flood claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are for properties outside high-risk flood areas.
Know where your insurance documents are located and take them with you if you are evacuating.
Hurricane Registry
The Camden County Health Department maintains a Hurricane Registry for those with functional, access, or medical needs who need transportation and have no resources such as family, neighbors, or friends to help them evacuate if a hurricane is threatening our community. Residents must apply to the Registry in advance to receive transportation services. The time to apply for the Registry is when there are no storms threatening. It is important to note that Registry applications will stop being accepted 72 hours prior to the arrival of tropical storm force winds.
To apply, residents can call toll-free, 1-833-CHD-REGISTER (1-833-243-7344). You will provide some basic information and then a representative of the Camden County Health Department will follow up with you to complete the application. Applications are available online.
GEMA/HS Re-Entry Permit Information
The Georgia Emergency Management Agency & Homeland Security (GEMA/HS) believes one of the fastest ways for a community to recover after a major disaster is by helping local businesses return to normal operations as quickly as possible.
They recognize the need for essential response personnel, including essential private sector companies that provide crucial supplies like groceries, pharmaceuticals, and fuel, to gain access into a disaster area to begin the process of getting the community running again.
On July 1, 2017, House Bill 405 went into effect, which established a new statewide re-entry system and a new re-entry certification process for private entities needing access to a disaster zone, both before and after an emergency.
Under the process, businesses wishing to seek re-entry access will be required to apply through the state.
  • Phase 1–Render Safe Task Force Team Re-Entry
  • Phase 3–Essential Public and Private Sector Personnel Re-Entry (Permit Required)
  • Phase 4–Local Residents, Property Owners, and Business Owners
  • Phase 5–Open to Public with Limited Access
GEMA/HS is responsible for issuing the Re-Entry Permits needed in Phases 2 and 3.
Click the image below to view larger (PDF).
Report Damage
Camden County EMA has partnered with Orion Damage Assessment System to assist citizens with reporting damage after a storm.
Camden County residents should go online to submit a damage assessment. Users will be asked for the address and if the property is residential or business. There are options to provide your contact information for Emergency Management staff and for you to upload pictures. Participants can review sample images to assist with selecting their damage level.
Once the citizen-reported damage is submitted, it is automatically mapped and assigned using the Orion Damage Assessment System. Self-reporting can quickly show where damage has occurred throughout the county, supports follow-up damage assessments by trained damage assessment teams, and ensures that appropriate types of resources are deployed into damaged areas to begin the recovery process.
Camden County Emergency Management Agency
Camden County Board of Commissioners

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