If you are planning a trip to Savannah during the hurricane season (which runs from June 1 to November 30), it is important to be aware of the potential risks and to consider purchasing travel insurance.
Hurricane season in Savannah
While Savannah does not experience hurricanes as frequently as other parts of the southeastern United States, it is still vulnerable to these storms. In recent years there is usually at least one major disruption due to hurricanes ranging from evacuations and road closures to flooding and severe damage as with Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
What happens when there is a hurricane approaching?
As hurricanes near authorities are better able to predict the path and strength of the storm. Hurricanes are rated as categories 1 through 5, with 3 and higher being major hurricanes with the propensity for a major damage and danger.
Chatham Emergency Management will issue alerts keeping the public informed as storms approach. You can sign up for alerts on their website. You can also watch local news stations WTOC, WSAV, and WJCL on their websites or social media.
Evacuating Savannah during a hurricane
If a major storm is forecast to hit, authorities will typically issue evacuation orders a few days before the storm. The advance warning gives you time to prepare and leave but be warned that as the storm gets closer the traffic congestion leaving the area can get quite heavy.
As storms typically hit Florida before continuing north to Savannah, Floridians are often moving north along Interstate 95 in advance of evacuation orders in Georgia. If you are evacuating by car expect major delays and refuel well in advance of running out of gas. Police may block exits off the highway in the evacuation zones as well as redirecting both sides of the highway away from the storm.
Staying in Savannah during a hurrricane
If you are staying in a rented home you may be able to stay to "ride out" the hurricane, however that will not likely be an option if you are in a hotel during an evacuation order.
Before deciding to stay through the storm take into consideration that emergency services may not be available in an emergency and there is potential for crime problems. It is also likely there will be flooding in Savannah during any major storm and power outages could last several hours to several days depending on the severity of the storm damage.
I highly recommend NOT staying during a major storm and heeding evacuation orders.
Do you need travel insurance?
A major hurricane can cause travel disruptions, damage to property, and potential safety risks for visitors to the area. Travel insurance can provide valuable coverage in case of trip cancellation, interruption, or delay due to a hurricane or other severe weather event.
When purchasing travel insurance for a trip during hurricane season, it is important to read the policy details carefully and make sure that you understand the coverage that is offered. Look for policies that specifically cover trip cancellations or interruptions due to severe weather, and check the policy limits and deductibles to make sure they meet your needs.
If you are traveling to Savannah during hurricane season, purchasing travel insurance can be a safety net in the even a hurricane affects your travel plans. Always read travel insurance policies thoroughly and make sure the coverage applies to weather events and the terms make sense for your individual situation.