Although it's been 14 years since Hurricane Floyd struck a glancing blow to the region, Beaufort County's emergency management director said it takes only one storm to end the drought.
With that in mind, Todd Ferguson is urging residents to be prepared and avoid complacency during the unofficial hurricane season that begins Saturday and runs through November.
"We have noticed over the last couple of years that complacency is really setting in within Beaufort County ... because it's been so long since we have suffered any type of impact ... from any bad storm," he said Wednesday.
"I can tell you folks, if you look at these (storm) surge maps here, it doesn't take a lot to cause some major issues, so complacency doesn't need to be in our vocabulary."
Even though Floyd made landfall several hundred miles north of Beaufort County, it knocked down trees and limbs, resulting in partial lane closures on Ribaut Road in Beaufort.
Ferguson's comments came Wednesday during the county's annual presentation to local media about hurricane preparedness. The hourlong event was in the county's emergency operations center, which has dozens of computer and phone terminals and flat-screen televisions that would be used to monitor and respond to a storm. The walls are lined with flood maps and wall-mounted screens displaying the county's traffic cameras.
Ferguson and his deputy director, David Zeoli, described how storms are tracked and monitored from the moment they form until it's known whether they will affect Beaufort County.
Although the projections vary by the source, most experts agree the 2013 hurricane season could be more active than usual.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts as many as 20 named storms and 11 hurricanes. As many as six of those storms could reach at least Category 3 strength, the agency says.
With that in mind, county officials say residents should take these actions now just in case: