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Experts Predict ‘Near-Normal’ Hurricane Season

The American Red Cross is prepared for hurricane season. Residents living in areas which can be affected by tropical storms and hurricanes should also prepare. The official start to the season is June 1, but the first named tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean formed almost a week ago.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted today that this year’s hurricane season in the Atlantic could see nine to 15 named storms. Of these storms, 4 to 8 could strengthen to a hurricane with winds of 74 mph or higher, with as many as three becoming major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.

“The best defense against any threat of a hurricane is for folks to get ready now,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “Any one of these storms could make landfall and become a serious danger to people living along the coast, as well as hundreds of miles inland.”

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO Hurricanes can bring heavy rainfall, high winds, tornadoes, rip currents, storm surges and inland flooding. FEMA and NOAA are urging people to pledge that they will develop an emergency plan based on their local hazards. The Red Cross has steps people can follow to make a plan, build a kit, and be informed.

An emergency kit should include items such as a gallon of water per person, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Learn about how your community responds to hurricanes and plan routes to local shelters. Remember family members with special medical needs and plan how you will care for your pets.

KNOW WHAT WARNINGS MEAN Know the meaning of the warnings officials may issue. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are a threat within the next 48 hours. Review emergency plans, stay informed about the situation and be ready to act if a warning is issued. A hurricane warning means hurricane conditions are expected within the next 36 hours; complete storm preparations and leave the area if ordered to do so by authorities.

The Red Cross Hurricane Safety Checklist is available to learn more about what to do if a hurricane might affect your community. For more information on hurricane safety, visit the preparedness section of our web site.