News: Hurricane season breezes its way to Parris Island
Story by Cpl. Sarah Fiocco
MCRD PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. -- With the chance of a major storm hitting the Lowcountry up by 14 percent, a brief was held May 25 at the All-Weather Training Facility to prepare Parris Island personnel for the worst.
There have already been 16 named tropical storms and hurricanes this season, including nine categories I or II hurricanes and five category III or more hurricanes.
The storm conditions are broken up into different groups based on their wind factors. A tropical depression is a storm with winds blowing slower than 39 miles per hour, and a tropical storm has winds of 39-73 mph and is one significant enough to be named. A category I or II hurricane has winds between 74 and 110 mph, and a category III – V hurricane has winds of 111 or stronger and can cause considerable flooding and damage.
The combination of hurricane threats this year and Parris Island’s below-sea-level status has alerted depot personnel to establish an evacuation plan for recruits, service members and their families.
In the event that a hurricane strikes Parris Island and the commanding general declares a mandatory evacuation, all essential personnel, such as drill instructors, recruits, the commanding general and the depot sergeant major will report to Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga.
“We still have to make Marines if a hurricane comes to Parris Island,” said Maj. Chris Hofstetter, future operations officer. “We want to make sure base personnel and recruits can make a safe and comfortable transition to where they need to be.”
Once the depot is closed and recruits are shipped to Albany, Hofstetter said all future male recruits will be sent to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and all future female shipments will cease until operations are restored at Parris Island.
“Our primary goal is to get all essential personnel moved to Albany smoothly,” Hofstetter said. “We want them to feel comfortable there.”
All nonessential personnel will execute their own evacuation plans with their families. Reimbursement of evacuation expenses will be granted once the “all clear” has been given, Hofstetter said.
Hofstetter said a mandatory evacuation is sounded when the commanding general gives the order, which takes place 40 hours prior to the hurricane’s predicted strike time.
Hofstetter said “40 hours isn’t a long time to plan an evacuation. That’s why it’s important for all depot personnel to have one now. Everyone should ensure they know their status in the depot’s plan. We have a lot of work to get done and not a lot of time to do it in.”