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June 1 Official Start of Hurricane Season

Hurricane Preparedness
The Red Cross is ready and we want people to know it’s important for them to be prepared too.

The official start of the 2012 hurricane season is June 1. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it will be near-normal with nine to 15 named storms. Of these storms, four to eight 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. Hurricane season ends on November 30.

The American Red Cross wants people to be prepared - to build a kit, make a plan and be informed. “Hurricanes are dangerous storms. Getting prepared ahead of time is the best way to be ready for any emergency or weather disaster,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services.“ The Red Cross is ready and we want people to know it’s important for them to be prepared too.”

It’s also worth noting that two named tropical storms in the Atlantic – Beryl and Alberto - have already brought heavy rains to areas along the East coast.

To make planning easier, the Red Cross has a free iPhone app that gives the location of all open Red Cross shelters. To download the app, users can visit the Apple store and search “American Red Cross shelters.” For those without an iPhone, the same shelter information also appears on the Red Cross website. Both are refreshed with updated information every 30 minutes.

In addition, the Red Cross Safe and Well website now allows users to update their Facebook and Twitter status when they register on the site. Safe and Well is a secure way to let your loved ones know where you are going during a hurricane evacuation or that you are “okay” in the aftermath of a disaster.


  • Hurricanes are strong storms that threaten life and property with their resulting hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds and tornadoes.
  • On average, five hurricanes strike the United States coastline every three years. Of these five, two are major hurricanes, category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane scale.
  • Today hurricanes have male and female names, but in years past, only female names were used.
  • Most hurricanes rage harmlessly in the sea.
  • Often the worst hurricane damage is caused by a storm surge which is like a giant wall of water pushed onshore by hurricane winds.
  • When a hurricane is especially devastating, its name is permanently retired and another name replaces it.
  • Hurricanes do not occur in the South Atlantic Ocean, where the waters are too cold for them to form.
  • Hurricanes can cause problems for people in coastal areas, but can also cause damage hundreds of miles inland. In 2011, tropical storms caused devastating flooding in regions hundreds of miles from the coast in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In 1972, Hurricane Agnes ravaged the mid-Atlantic region from central Virginia through Pennsylvania to New York.
  • For more information on how to prepare for the 2012 hurricane season, visit the Red Cross web site.
  • About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.