Hurricane - Stay or Leave the Beaufort Area
The worse case scenario for the Beaufort area is a Category 4-5 hurricane hitting near Savannah at high tide. If the hurricane had a 20 foot storm surge, and a high tide of 8 feet, this would equal a surge of 28 feet or more. Most of the Beaufort area would be under water. All of Hilton Head, Lady's Island, Sea Brook, Bluffton and the barrier islands would be completely under water. In most places as much as 10 feet or more. Many people who choose to stay, would have little chance of surviving. Some would drown and be washed out to sea. Rain driven by winds of 140 mph or more would feel like a thousand pellet guns hitting you. Property damage would be horrific. It would be very wise to leave all areas in Beaufort and Hilton Head Island and to leave very early as roads and bridges may become congested, impassable or be closed. Power, water and communication will be lost for weeks or longer.
Category 2 or 3 hurricane
In this case, people living on barrier islands, lower lying areas and in mobile homes should leave. The surge would likely be under 18 feet at the shoreline and flooding inland would most likely be around 4-10 feet, or less. This is a call you must make. If your property floods at all during a normal thunderstorm - it will flood extensively during a hurricane. Coupled with massive amounts of rain and the storm surge, the flooding in these areas can become severe. I strongly suggest leaving or at least going to higher ground. In many areas, evacuation may be ordered by county officials. Emergency services may not be available, phone and power will most likely be lost for an extended period. High winds, downed power lines and falling trees may also present immediate dangers.
Special Concerns and Warnings
If you become stuck here or choose to stay, know that emergency services will not respond to any emergency! You will have to fend for yourself. Also know that wildlife and poisonous snakes will seek high ground. You will have to compete for and share that space!