Several days after Bertha, SC marks hurricane prep week

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina may have been hit by surprise Tropical Storm Bertha several days ago, but the state's hurricane preparedness week is getting ready to start.

Gov. Henry McMaster signed a proclamation declaring Sunday through next Saturday as South Carolina Hurricane Preparedness Week.

Hurricane season begins on Monday.

State emergency officials are asking residents to take a number of familiar steps, like gathering supplies including bottled water, batteries and non-perishable food as well as reviewing insurance policies and making a family emergency plan.

But with the COVID-19 pandemic, officials also want people to buy supplies sooner so there aren't huge crowds at stores as a hurricane approaches and plan where to go, because a hotel room or a friend or relative's house well inland might be the safest shelter.

South Carolina got an early taste of tropical weather with Tropical Storm Bertha on Wednesday.

Bertha formed, made landfall within two hours near Mount Pleasant with 50 mph (80 kph) maximum sustained winds and was downgraded before sundown, bringing a poor beach day of rain and gusty winds, but no major problems.