LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) — Meteorologists are forecasting an above-average hurricane season this year, and area residents should prepare by taking a few precautionary steps, officials say.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting between 14 to 21 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher), according to the forecast.

To mark the official start of hurricane season, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) wants people to “Know Your Zone, Prepare Your Home, Remember Your Route”.

Know Your Zone:

In South Carolina, state and local officials issue hurricane evacuations based on zones in coastal counties. Know your hurricane evacuation zone instantly with the SC Emergency Manager mobile app and Hurricane.sc, South Carolina’s online hurricane guide.

Prepare Your Home:

Do a safety check to make sure your home is best able to withstand the effects of a hurricane. Have your roof inspected, double-check hurricane shutters and make sure your insurance policies cover the types of damages hurricanes can cause. Make a list and take photos of your belongings as records.

Remember Your Route:

Be aware of the closest hurricane evacuation route ahead of the upcoming hurricane season. This will allow for a more efficient and safer route out of the hurricane’s path. Once you’ve learned your route, stick with it and remember it. Rely on the blue hurricane evacuation signs, not GPS.

According to SCEMD Chief of Public Information & External Affairs Derrec Becker, hurricanes and tropical storms not only threaten the coast, but also all areas of South Carolina. Storm surges and flooding are the most deadly and destructive hazards associated with tropical storms and hurricanes.

High winds and tornadoes can cause severe damage to buildings and homes. Becker said, “These past two years were some of the most active hurricane seasons on record. We were fortunate and lucky that none of these storms headed toward South Carolina. Our luck can’t hold out forever and we know that.”

All South Carolinians should take time to prepare this week by reviewing their family emergency plans, creating a disaster supply kit and talking with their families about what could happen during and after the landfall of a major hurricane.

South Carolina is one of the most vulnerable states to hurricanes and tropical storms. Six coastal counties border the Atlantic Ocean. These counties have more than 200 miles of general coastline, and another 21 inland counties may be directly affected by these storms. Densely populated coastal areas, especially during peak tourist seasons, coupled with the generally low coastal elevations significantly increase the state’s vulnerability.

Recent hurricanes to impact the Palmetto State include Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Hurricane Irma in 2017, Hurricane Florence in 2018 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019. In 2015, Hurricane Joaquin, combined with a separate storm system, resulted in historic flooding from the Midlands to the Lowcountry. Forecasters with

Hurricane Season begins June 1 and lasts through November 30.

“Early preparation and understanding your risk is key to being hurricane resilient and climate-ready,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo, in the forecast.

To download a copy of this year’s state Hurricane guide, click or tap here.