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      Now is the time to prepare for hurricane season

      Regardless of how much Tropical Storm Arthur impacts the Grand Strand, emergency management officials say this is a good opportunity and reminder to prepare for hurricane season.

      Luann Sprouse of Myrtle Beach, who was shopping at Home Depot Tuesday, says she isn't too concerned about Arthur, but she and her husband are prepared for the season.

      "We have stocked up on batteries. We have flashlights. We have a new roof on our home. We've cut down numerous trees and limbs that could potentially fall on our home," Sprouse said.

      But Home Depot employees say they see many homeowners who wait too long.

      "I hate to say it, but it's usually after the first storm of the season that people start to think, 'Oh, wait a minute, we need to get prepared,'" said Lumber Department Manager Dave Barry.

      Horry County Emergency Management officials say now is the time to come up with an emergency plan for your family.

      "Be educated and make sure you're monitoring the weather consistently so you know what's going on in your area," said Mitigation Program Manager Alicia Sanders.

      Sanders said you should put together a disaster kit, including things like: Enough food and water to last 48 hours. Flashlights and batteries. Medications. Children's toys or games.Pet care items.Cash.

      Now's also a good time to plan what your family would do if you had to evacuate.

      "You know the routes you're going to take, and your family members that are either in the immediate area or not, they know where you're going as well," Sanders said.

      It's been years since a tropical storm hit the Grand Strand, so thousands of new residents haven't lived through one, and long-time residents may be rusty.

      Sanders said that makes storm preparation even more critical now.

      "Make sure you're prepared and don't become complacent and don't heed the warnings, just because it's been so long, and you're not really sure what you need to be aware of," she said.

      Sanders said your disaster kit is useful for any emergency including a ice storm, tornado, wildfire, or even just a power outage.