Monday marks the official start of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Tracking the Tropics

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Monday marks the first day of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

NOAA is predicting an above average hurricane season with 13-19 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, 3-6 of those becoming major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.

Storm Team 2 says this outlook is a forecast for formation, not landfall, as several of these storms will likely stay out to sea.

We saw two named storms before the official start of the season; Tropical Storm Arthur, which mostly stayed out to sea, and Tropical Storm Bertha – the storm quickly formed off the South Carolina coast on May 27th and made landfall in northern Charleston County between the Isle of Palms and Bulls Bay about an hour later.

Shannon Scaff, the Director of Emergency Management for the City of Charleston, has been working with city leaders to develop a hurricane task force to come up with plans in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Scaff said that the plans for shelters are still being worked out with Charleston County and the Red Cross as they figure out how to create them with social distancing in mind. 

“I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a hurricane season where it’s been more important to make sure that yourself and your families are prepared,” he said. “Have a plan in place so that if we are told to evacuate, Charleston is going to support that order. People need to understand that leading threat with a hurricane is not wind, the category of storm, it’s the water.”

The American Red Cross is prioritizing the use of hotels and dorms over traditional shelters like schools.

If a mass evacuation is ordered, there are plans for COVID-19-related measures when it comes to shelters. Guests will be screened, and capacity will be lowered.

As for keeping your home protected during a hurricane, Adam Cantrell, an agent with State Farm, said to make sure to review your home or rental insurance policies before a storm comes. He also added that if you do not have flood insurance, know that there is a delay in coverage.

“FEMA has a 30 day wait, so if you can to me today and wanted to buy a flood insurance policy, it wouldn’t be effective until June 27th,” he said.

Scaff encourages families to update their hurricane ready kits with COVID-19 in mind.

“In the past you’ve been having batteries, and maybe your important papers and all that, but you’re going to need to add to your list. Having those masks and having hand-sanitizers,” he said.

You can download the 2020 Storm Team 2 Hurricane Ready Guide to help you and your family prepare for the season. It has a list of everything you need to pack in your kits, offers important information about evacuations and helpful tips.

Hurricane season runs June 1st through the end of November.

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