The National Hurricane Center has predicted between 11 and 17 named tropical storms for this year, with 5 to 9 becoming hurricanes and 2 to 4 becoming major hurricanes of category 3 or above. Meteorologist Mark Malsick of the State Climatology Office says the main thing storms need to get bigger and stronger is warm, shallow water.
Derrec Becker of the S.C. Emergency Management Division says preparation is the key to saving lives during a hurricane. He says while the state’s evacuation plan in excellent, more people living along the coast than, say, when Hurricane Hugo came ashore in 1989 means a bigger population to move. The roads are the same today as when Hugo hit, so he urges people to be proactive and not wait to be ordered to leave if they feel that conditions warrant their leaving their homes for higher ground. Malsick reminds people in the Midlands and Upstate that they need to be prepared as well, if not for the high waves of a hurricane, then perhaps for high winds and heavy rains, and certainly they need to expect an influx of coastal residents seeking refuge from a storm. Inland parts of the state could also experience power outages for which they need to be prepared.