As Hurricane Dorian approaches the U.S., one thing to keep in mind is that while meteorologists do their best to predict where these hurricanes will make landfall; it isn’t always accurate.

It’s best to act quickly when a hurricane is approaching the general area that you live. Hurricanes are typically about 300 miles wide. So even if you aren’t in the direct path, you could still get outer wind bands and lots of rain.

Understanding what causes hurricanes and what creates the "perfect storm" is critical in knowing when and how to prepare for them.

Hurricanes are created when there is warm ocean water combined with the Earth’s eastward rotation according to National Geographic.

That’s the simple answer, but there is nothing simple about these storms; they are some of the most complex and powerful weather phenomena in the world.

Warm ocean waters are essential in the development of hurricanes. As a hurricane grows and travels in warmer water, it increases in strength until it comes in contact with a land mass large enough to break it up.

Hurricanes are categorized by their wind speeds, but wind isn’t even the most dangerous part of these storms — the storm surge is.

Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water generated by a storm over and above the predicted astronomical tides, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Katrina is the perfect example of the damage storm surge can do to coastal towns, especially when these communities aren’t properly prepared.

Nearly 1,500 people died as a result of the storm surge that Katrina caused in New Orleans. That is why it is so important that when you live on the coast to evacuate when the state issues a mandatory evacuation order.

The Atlantic hurricane season starts every year on June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

Do yourself a favor and start preparing for hurricane season well in advance. If you are not prepared at this point, it may too late. Don’t wait until the last minute to store water, batteries and candles.

Trust me you don’t want to deal with the chaos that ensues when there is a hurricane hurling itself at the United States.

Grace Johnson is an amateur weather watcher living here in the Lowcountry.