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Anytime you live on coastal waters, it’s important to be aware of the potential natural disasters. Forecasters are predicting an above average 2010 hurricane season. The season officially begins on June 1 and lasts until November 30.

The Colorado State University’s forecast team predicts 15 named storms in the Atlantic, with eight becoming hurricanes in 2010.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts between 14 and 23 storms, with eight to 14 developing into hurricanes. Those predictions would make this year the worst since 2005, the year Hurricane Katrina hit.

These predictions should not cause you to panic, but they should make you set aside some time to develop your own personal hurricane plan.

The South Carolina Insurance News Service encourages homeowners and business owners to protect their property and make sure they have a current insurance policy and the necessary coverage. Remember that you may need flood insurance along with your normal wind and hail policy.

Here’s a handy hurricane checklist created by WCIV-Charleston:

Ahead of hurricane season:

  • Review your insurance coverage with your agent or company.
  • Document, photograph or video your possessions for insurance records.
  • Keep this inventory in a safe place away from your home.
  • Trim shrubbery and trees to make them more resistant to wind damage.

When a hurricane is imminent, prepare your home for evacuation:

  • Cover all windows with pre-cut plywood or storm shutters.
  • Bring in outdoor furniture, garbage cans and other items that could be blown about.
  • Turn off utilities and propane tanks.
  • Close interior doors.
  • Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water for sanitary purposes.
  • Take your insurance agent’s name and phone number and your policy information with you.

Hurricane season peaks in August and September. These months encompass 78% of the tropical storm days, 87% of the minor hurricane days and 96% of the major hurricane days.

Here’s an old mariner’s poem about hurricane season that’ll help you remember:
June – too soon.
July – standby.
August – look out you must.
September – remember.
October – all over.

Hurricane Hugo made landfall in South Carolina in September 1989 and caused an astounding $4.2 billion in insured damage. Today, SC has more than $200 billion in insured property along the coast.

Being prepared is all that you can do; the rest is up to Mother Nature. Emergency management experts remind people to be vigilant and to pay attention to hurricane warnings and announcements.