Florence preparation

Coastal Produce employee Hampton Smith, center, loads filled propane tanks into customer’s cars as they fill up in preparation of Hurricane Florence in September 2018.

Forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said Thursday that 2019 could generate up to four major hurricanes from June 1 to Nov. 30.

A report posted on the National Hurricane Center’s website stated NOAA predicts up to 15 named storms with winds of 39 miles per hour or higher, of which four to eight could become hurricanes, with winds of 74 mph or higher. Two to four of those could reach category 3, 4 or 5, which are considered major hurricanes producing winds of 111 mph or higher.

“NOAA provides these ranges with a 70 percent confidence,” the statement read. “An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.”

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season produced 15 named storms, eight of which became hurricanes, and two rising to major hurricane status.

On Oct. 11, 2018, Hurricane Michael claimed the lives of 45 people as it blew through the Florida Panhandle, up through Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. But the storm was nearly a non-event in the Lowcountry, which braced for the worst when early forecasts predicted a major event in the Lowcountry.

In fact many Lowcountry residents left early and fled inland only to find themselves directly in the path of the storm.

As of 9 a.m. on Oct. 11 the eye of the storm moved through Augusta, Georgia, passing just north of Aiken and Columbia with sustained winds exceeding 50 miles per hour. Michael brought heavy rain along its path, which triggered flash flood warnings in Dorchester and Berkeley counties, but rivers and streams remained within their banks in the following days.

The predicted high water failed to produce any significant damage to the area. Schools in Dorchester and Berkeley counties closed Thursday, but resumed the next day under mostly sunny skies.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has proclaimed May 26 through June 1 to be South Carolina Hurricane Preparedness Week.

SCEMD, county emergency managers and the National Weather Service urge individuals, businesses and communities to begin preparations ahead of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Hurricanes and tropical storms not only threaten the coast but all areas of South Carolina, according to a statement released Thursday by the governor’s office.

“Flooding from widespread, torrential rains is one of the most deadly and destructive hazards associated with tropical storms and hurricanes,” according to the statement. “All South Carolinians should take the time this week to prepare for a potential land-falling tropical storm or hurricane by reviewing their family emergency plans, developing a disaster supply kit, reviewing insurance policies and talking with your family about what could happen during a disaster.”

McMaster’s staff said that beginning June 1, a Hurricane Guide will be available at all South Carolina Welcome Centers, at any Walgreens store statewide and at SCDMV offices in Moncks Corner and other locations.