Hermine is gathering strength off the Florida coast, and warnings have been issued for our area.
So far, Beaufort County hasn’t seen any effects of the storm, weather-related or otherwise.
Ahead of Hermine, here’s some information about tides and eleveation across the county, and what some of our local merchants are seeing.
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Beaufort County is a low-lying county — if you’re seeing marshland, assume you’re at sea level, county mappers say.
Its highest point, according to Beaufort County GIS Analyst Matt Gerig, is located just west of Pritchardville and is just over 40 feet above sea level.
“It’s kind of stating the obvious,” he said, “but our flood zone is very significant in this county.”
Main roadways, such as U.S. 278, tend to be located near higher ground, he said, as planners take elevation into account. And both Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and Beaufort County Airport on Lady’s Island are on higher ground, he said.
Elsewhere throughout the county, high points tend to be between about 25 feet above sea level. Here are three of those points:
-Beaufort: Near Springfield Road, just west of S.C. 802 and north of U.S. 21.
-Bluffton: Near Palmetto Storage, on the north end of Gibbett Road.
-Hilton Head Island: Portions of High Bluff Road, on the north end of the island.
The National Weather Service in Charleston said Beaufort County should only see flooding from fresh water in low-lying, flood-prone areas.
A sea of change
Starting around 11 p.m. Thursday and continuing through Friday night, there is a high chance for showers, thunderstorms, and heavy winds in the county.
The weather service is expecting between 1 to 2 feet of storm surge.
Tides during the storm will be at their highest — more than 8 feet in most places — late Thursday night, late Friday morning and late Friday night.
For more information, and to check the tides in your area, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s website at http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/.
Plenty of gas, no spikes at the pump
Lisa Smith, manager of the Tiger Express Exxon, estimates her station can go about five days without a fuel resupply.
Prices haven’t gone up, and she doesn’t expect them to.
“I don’t think there’s any more business than there usually is, but we’re usually pretty busy,” she said Thursday morning.
Carla Ramirez, manager of Parker’s No. 33 on Buckwalter Parkway, hasn’t heard any rumors about gas prices going up.
“We haven’t had a price change yet,” she said, adding that business was “normal, steady.”
-Hilton Head Island
“Nothing’s changed,” said Speedway manager Shelly Boice. “We’re not seeing more customers, we’re not seeing prices go up. It’s just a normal day.”
Still plenty of milk, bread and eggs
“We’ve got more water coming tomorrow,” Food Lion Assistant Manager Jody Floyd said. “Water’s the main thing people buy when there’s a storm coming.”
Some of his customers have been buying more water, but otherwise business has been normal.
“We’ve got our storm-ready end caps up,” said Marcus Hooks, manager of the Publix at Belfair.
But those end caps are nothing new — they’ve been up throughout hurricane season.
Hooks’ store has stocked up on more water, flashlights and batteries, but he’s seen no uptick in business.
Business might actually be a little slower for owner David Martin’s Piggly Wiggly on the south end of the island.
“Normal business, maybe a little less because people seem to be hunkering down,” he said, adding he thought some tourists were leaving early.
There’s been no run on groceries, and Martin’s stocked up on extra batteries and water.