NORFOLK, Va. — Just a week away from the official start of hurricane season, forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their predictions.
They are predicting a less active year in the Atlantic, especially when compared to years' past.
During a news conference in Maryland on Thursday, they broke it down to the possibility of 12 to 17 named storms. Of those, five to nine could become hurricanes, and one to four could turn out as major hurricanes.
Coastal communities, like in Hampton Roads, can be vulnerable to weather threats. With hurricane season starting on June 1, experts urged the time is now to prepare.
"Remember, it only takes one storm to devastate a community," said NOAA Administrator Dr. Richard Spinrad.
NOAA forecasters announced the seasonal outlook Thursday.
"NOAA is predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season," said Spinrad.
Furthermore, they expect a 40% chance for a near-normal season, a 30% chance for an above-normal season and a 30% chance for a below-normal season.
Experts also advise that the possibility for El Niño to develop in the Pacific this summer and fall contributes to the seasonal outlook.
"If the Pacific Ocean gets really active, typically the Atlantic is a little less active,” said Jeff Orrock, meteorologist-in-charge at National Weather Service – Wakefield.
However, Orrock cautioned that the seasonal outlook is not the same as landfall predictions.
"We've had active years in the Atlantic, where we had basically few to no landfalls and we've seen fairly inactive years in the Atlantic where we've had major landfalls," said Orrock.
For that reason, preparedness, such as knowing your zone, stocking up emergency kits and replenishing hardware supplies, is key.
"Find out your situation, what you need to do," said David "Doc" Price with Taylor's Do it Center in the Park Place neighborhood of Norfolk.
When preparing for storms, Price said customers will usually go for items like tarps, ropes, gas cans, flashlights, batteries and sandbags.
"Hopefully, everything will go well, you probably won't need all of this, but it's nothing wrong to have it, just in case," said Price.
Experts also suggest having lots of water, non-perishable foods, medicine and a weather radio on hand.
This advice is all part of our Hurricane Plan Checklist.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30.