NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The 2010 Hurricane season officially started Tuesday and Governor Mark Sanford toured coastal communities to urge residents to prepare.
"They don't call us the Lowcountry for nothing. We are low, susceptible to flooding and storm surge," said Cathy Haynes, the Director of the Charleston County Emergency Operations Center.
All year, the Emergency Operations Center works to be ready for the worst. While South Carolina has been lucky for a few years, Governor Sanford says predictions for this year are frightening.
"For some reason I get the worst feeling about not being so lucky this year," said Sanford.
"The historical average is a 31 percent probability of a major storm hitting the East coast. They've bumped that number up to 45 percent -- that's a major increase," said Sanford.
So what does that mean storm wise?
"Somewhere between 14 and 23 storms this year, 8-14 hurricanes and somewhere between 3 and 7 major hurricanes, which means our number is probably up, not just the East coast but South Carolina," said Sanford.
Haynes says there are four things every family needs to have on hand well in advance of any storm.
"Get a supply kit if you don't have one if you have one update it," said Haynes. Keep in mind, bottled water should be replaced every six months. Each family also needs an evacuation plan, a place to go and a way to get there, but shelters should only be a last resort.
"We don't want them to use it as their main place to go. We want them to get out of town," said Haynes.
Besides that, she says, there is not enough room in the shelters for even 10 percent of the population. But for those who cant go elsewhere, it's important to note there are some changes this year.
North Charleston High School is back on the list and Brentwood Middle School has been replaced by the Zucker Middle School of Science.
For pet owners, there's only one shelter for them at the North Charleston Coliseum. Be prepared with water, food, and medicine for your pet, and bring a crate and a picture.
Haynes says only one family member can stay with the pet. But again, any shelter should be a last resort.
"When we ask people to evacuate, when the Governor gives that order to evacuate, we want them to do that,"said Haynes.