CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Thursday marks the official start of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season and forecasters are predicting a near-normal season.

But while that may sound good to some, Mike Brenna, director of the National Hurricane Center said there is nothing normal when it comes to hurricanes threatening your community.

“A normal season might sound good in comparison to some of the hurricane seasons in the past few years,” he said during a Wednesday news conference. “But there’s nothing good about a near-normal hurricane season in terms of activity.”

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, is predicting 12 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes with maximum winds of at least 74 miles per hour, and one to four major hurricanes of a category 3 or above with winds of at least 111 miles per hour.

There were 14 named storms in 2022 with South Carolina feeling impacts from three. The first was Tropical Storm Colin, which formed near the coast and brought heavy rain to the Lowcountry in early July.

Hurricane Ian was a powerful category 4 storm that struck Florida’s west coast before emerging back out over the Atlantic and lashed the Charleston coast in late September. Ian made a second U.S. landfall near Georgetown as a category 1 hurricane.

Tropical Storm Nicole, a late-season storm, brought heavy rain, gusty winds, and a threat of tornadoes to much of the Lowcountry.

And with forecasters saying the season may be slower than we’ve seen recently, those who lived through Hurricane Hugo which battered the Charleston area in September 1989 would agree, it only takes one storm to make it a bad season.

That’s why state and local emergency management officials stress the importance of being prepared at the start of the season to ensure you have a solid family plan and avoid the last-minute rush on supplies should a storm threaten our community.

Here’s what you can do right now to begin your hurricane season preps:

  • Develop a plan for you and your family.
  • Understand how South Carolina’s evacuation procedures work: know your zone, evacuation routes, and plan where you will go if an order is issued.
  • Begin collecting or refreshing items for your storm kit: non-perishable food, jugs for water, batteries, flashlights, and other essentials that can be stored in a safe location and updated throughout the season.

Pre-storm maintenance around your home: trim trees and any branches that could pose a risk to your home or surrounding properties. Thin out vegetation and clear your yard or property of any bulky waste items before the season.

Storm Team 2 and News 2 has a comprehensive guide to help you prepare for the season and survive any storm that may head our way. The 2023 Hurricane Ready Guide is packed with helpful tips and vital information like evacuation routes and important numbers. It even has a printable hurricane supply checklist. Click here and bookmark the page today.

While the Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30, the Atlantic has already recorded its first system. The National Hurricane Center said in a news release, “A subtropical storm formed in the Atlantic basin in mid-January 2023. … This subtropical storm is being numbered as the first cyclone of 2023 in the Atlantic basin.” 

While the mid-January subtropical storm was the first cyclone of 2023 in the Atlantic basin, it was not named. If the next system begins as a tropical depression, the NHC says, “It would be tropical depression two, and, if it becomes a tropical storm, it would be given the name Arlene.”

Count on News 2 and Storm Team 2 — your hurricane headquarters — all season long for tropical updates and helpful information that matters to you and your family.