Hurricane advice for newcomers... And those who've been here awhile

As we watch Irene, many of us think of the hurricanes we've been through before, but what if you're a newcomer to our area, and you've never been through a storm?

As someone who is experiencing her first hurricane season, it was easy for NewsChannel 15's Lindsey Theis to see Irene's updated status to a Category Two Monday night and think, "All right, time to panic!," but that, said Randy Webster, Horry County's Emergency Operations Director, is the last thing to do.

"It's still several days away, so anything could happen," he said.

But some viewers, like Jessica Marchese Theroux, who left this comment on our NewsChannel 15 Facebook page, a possible hurricane is nerve-racking.

"We are new to the area and are from Arizona where we don't have natural disasters so I'm a little green on what to expect."she said.

"Really the best thing to do is be prudent for it," Webster said.

Right now, the county's OPCON level of readiness is at a Level 5 - the lowest possible. Monday afternoon, Webster said the level was likely to move to a Level 4 by Tuesday. He adds that the best thing all residents can do right now is come up with a plan on what they would do if a major hurricane were to hit. By midweek, once we have a better clue on where Irene is going, it's time to act on those decisions.

Experts say if you're waiting until midweek to devise a plan, you might be stuck battling everyone else at the stores for supplies that may have already run out.

NewsChannel 15 will continue to have daily updates of Irene, as well as the latest tracking from Chief Meteorologist Ed Piotrowski.

And for all of us hurricane newcomers, I particularly found this extensive list of what your need to know before, after, or during a hurricane very helpful in being prepared for a possible Irene.