Thunderstorms, Hurricanes & Tornados

Thunderstorms are common to the area during the spring and summer months due to high humidity and temperatures. Every thunderstorm produces lightning. If you hear thunder, there is lightning and lightning is very dangerous. Move indoors immediately until the storm passes.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1st and ends November 30th. Hurricane hazards come in the form of storm surges, tornados, high winds and flooding. Residents and visitors alike are encouraged to be knowledgeable of and prepare for hurricane season. When discussing hurricanes, weather forecasters will describe the conditions as categories "1 to 5"; for a complete category description, look below to view the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Also, please review the following websites for detailed information and instructions:

This link will provide you with a Hurricane Preparation Guide.

The following are suggestions to help you be better prepared before, during, and after a hurricane:

Before a weather condition arises:

  • Find out if your property is subject to storm surge flooding.
  • Re-entry Passes are required to return to the area after an evacuation. Homeowners can obtain an Emergency Evacuation Re-Entry Pass at Town Hall. 
  • Inspect your property for potential problems that may arise during a hurricane or tornado, i.e., be sure propane gas tanks, garbage cans, patio furniture, and any other items that could become projectiles in high winds are secured.
  • Consider installing permanent/temporary shutter protection for your windows and doors, or purchase and pre-cut 5/8 inch plywood to fit your windows and doors.
  • If you own a boat, plan ahead where you will put it in case of a weather emergency.
  • Determine if you need flood insurance by contacting your insurance agent.
  • Inventory your property and personal possessions by making a list, taking photos, or video taping every room of your home. Once you have compiled your inventory, secure the information in a safe place off site of your property such as a safe deposit box in your bank.
  • Devise an emergency communication plan with your family so that you will know what to do in the event you are separated. Also, ask an out-of-state friend or relative to be a family contact.
  • Make sure family members know how to respond during a hurricane emergency. Teach them how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.
  • Plan your evacuation route to an area at least 20-50 miles inland. Gather information about the safest routes and nearby emergency shelters. Also, estimate how long it will take you to reach your "safe area."
  • Make arrangements for your animals. Most shelters cannot accommodate pets.
  • Prepare an evacuation kit that includes supplies for at least three (3) days. (See Below)

When a Watch or Warning is issued:

  • Make sure your vehicle fuel tank is full; do not wait until a hurricane warning is issued.
  • Check your emergency supplies and stock up on items that are needed.
  • Be ready to board/tape up windows of your home or business in case a warning is issued.
  • Bring in or secure outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, toys, garden tools, etc. These items can become airborne during hurricane force winds, causing damage not only to your property, but also, to your neighbors' property.
  • Double check your food and water supplies. Set refrigerators/freezers to their highest settings and do not open needlessly.
  • If an evacuation has not already been recommended or ordered, consider leaving early to avoid long hours and traffic jams on the roads. Remember, weather conditions will deteriorate quickly as the hurricane approaches.
  • Communicate with your family members often and be ready to act quickly should a hurricane warning be issued. Time is on your side at this point, but conditions can change hour by hour.
  • Stay tuned to television or radio for official bulletins of the hurricane's progress.
  • If you live in a mobile home, secure it and evacuate to a safe place.
  • If your doctor has advised that any ill or disable person living in your home stay elsewhere, move them now.
  • Prepare for high winds by bracing your garage doors, lowering antennas, and anchoring loose objects that are outside and that can’t be brought indoors.
  • If you own a boat, moor it securely or move it to a designated safe place.
  • Keep your radio, flashlights, and extra batteries nearby. The power may go off without warning. Avoid using candles; however, if you do, never leave them unattended.
  • Fill tubs and sinks with water. You may need this water for after the storm.
  • Be attentive to the television and radio reports for official information such as change in the storm's intensity, direction, and/or speed of movement.
  • When your preparations are complete, consider offering assistance to your neighbors, particularly those with young children, those who are elderly, disabled, or single persons.
  • As the winds increase, move to an interior room. Resist the temptation to watch through the windows or go outside. Hurricane force winds, downed power lines, falling limbs and trees all pose serious dangers.
  • If the "eye" of the storm moves over your location, do not venture outside, as heavy rains and strong winds will resume as the airflow returns from the opposite direction.
  • Should an evacuation order be given, complete your preparations, lock up your home, and leave following your evacuation plan. Be sure to have proper passes and identification to regain access to the evacuated area.

After a Weather event:

  • Emergency workers will be accessing the damage and implementing Emergency Operations Plans. Information will be posted on the Town website and at Town Hall.
  • Don't return to your flood-damaged home before the area is declared to be safe by local officials. Returning home can be both physically and mentally challenging.
  • Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports.
  • Use a battery-powered flash light to inspect a damaged home.
    Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering - the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Be wary of wildlife and other animals.
  • Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies.
  • Stay off the streets. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects, downed electrical wires, and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Walk carefully around the outside of your home or business and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have the structure inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
  • Inside your home, be aware of loose boards and slippery floors.
  • If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. Call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence. If you shut off the gas supply at the main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on.
  • Do not smoke or use oil, gas lanterns, candles, or torches for lighting inside a damaged home or business until you are sure there is no leaking gas or other flammable materials present.
  • Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water, or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
  • If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again. Also, have the electrical system checked by an electrician before turning the power back on.
  • If water and sewer pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
  • Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater.
  • Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.
  • Call your insurance agent. Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.

Sunset Beach Town Hall: 579-6297
Sunset Beach Police Department: 910-579-2151
Sunset Beach Fire Department: 910-579-2456
Atlantic Telephone: 910-754-4311
Brunswick Electric: 910-754-4391
Brunswick County Emergency Management: 910-253-2565