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Hurricane season is a month away. Here's some advice on being prepared in 2024

Sunday May 5th is the first day of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admistration (NOAA) National Hurricane Preparedness Week.

The start of the 2024 hurricane season less than a month away and there are early indicators of an active year in the tropics.

Seasonal outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center forecast a transition to more hurricane-favorable La Nina conditions by the start of summer. Plus, the Gulf of Mexico and the tropical Atlantic Ocean waters are unusually warm for this time of year.

While NOAA has not yet made an official forecast for this year's hurricane season, tropical meteorologists at Colorodo State University have looked at this year's early indicators and are predicting numbers that are much above average with 23 named storms, with 11 hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes.

But residents living near the coast understand that it really only takes one storm to define a season. Last August, Hurricane Idalia made landfall near Keaton Beach, Florida as a major hurricane with winds of 111 mph and billions left behind of dollars of damages.

On day one of Hurricane Preparedness week, NOAA is focusing on knowing the risks for your particular area.

The likelihood of your home being damaged by winds and water depends on both the storm's path and your location.

While storm surge and winds are most damaging at landfall, it's not just locations near the coast that are vulnerable to water and wind damage.

Flooding can happen hundreds of miles away from the coast and can continue for several days after a storm makes landfall. Significant and damaging wind gusts frequently happen far away from the storm's eyewall, and tornadoes often form in hurricane outer rainbands.

Also as part of Hurricane Preparedness Week, NOAA is emphasizing the importance of having a plan far in advance of any tropical threats.

By already knowing where you can go when you must evacuate and having a supply kit ready for when you can safely shelter at home, you can avoid having to find necessities in the last minute as a storm approaches and weather deteriorates.

When it is necessary to evacuate, it is too late to buy materials to board up your windows to secure your home, find shelter for your pets, and to search for items that should have already been put together into a kit to take with you.

Another way to be prepared for hurricane season is by knowing where to go to get high quality weather information for your area or areas that are along your evacuation route.

It's not just the National Hurricane Center track forecast for a specific storm that is important. Other vital details regarding threats from flooding, winds and other hazards come from local National Weather Service offices to supplement the forecast provided by NHC.

Dangerous weather can occur hundreds of miles from the center of a tropical storm, so it's important to stay up to date with the latest weather information along your evacuation route or with changing conditions at home if you plan on sheltering in place.

Preparing for a storm also means preparing for the storm's aftermath. When the storm is over, and it's determined to be safe to return home after evacuating, or for those who sheltered in place, there could be another set of potential dangers.

Downed trees and powerlines, flooded or blocked roads, extreme heat and poor mobile service can persist days after the rain stops.

Being ready for hurricane season takes time. Gathering vital records together, making a hurricane kit, boarding up windows, planning routes and transportation is not something that you can easily do at the last minute. To make sure nothing is overlooked, the best time to prepare for a storm is now.