Hurricane season is here again.

Running June 1 through November 30, the six-month period is when hurricanes usually form in the Atlantic Ocean.

A forecast out of Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project calls for “well above-average activity” this year, with 19 named storms, including nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes (a major hurricane is a category 3 or higher).

That includes the three named storms we’ve already seen this year: Arthur, Bertha and Cristobal.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration expects between 13 and 19 named storms, with six to 10 of those becoming hurricanes and three to six becoming major hurricanes.

An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes and three becoming major hurricanes. 

June is traditionally National Hurricane Preparedness Month.

Often, people don’t consider threatening weather until forecasts mark a hurricane or tropical storm as days or even hours away.

Now is the time to prepare for the possibility of a hurricane, not in the hours leading up to a possible storm.

It is an opportunity to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best during the long, uncertain months of the hurricane season ahead.

Preparations should start with a basic disaster kit.

Each kit should include: 

• Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.

• Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.

• Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.

• Flashlight and extra batteries.

• First aid kit.

• Whistle to signal for help.

• Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place.

• Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.

• Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

• Manual can opener for food.

• Local maps.

• Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger. 

• A portable radio.

• Flashlights with plenty of batteries.

• Prescription medications and glasses.

• Special needs, such as Infant formula and diapers.

• Pet food and extra water for your pet.

• Cash or traveler’s checks and change.

• Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.

We can’t control storms —where they hit, when they hit. But we can be prepared, and we can start preparing now.

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