This hurricane season, June 1-Nov. 30, is predicted to be a “near normal” season, according to officials at the National Weather Service in Lake Charles.
Forecasters predict there will be nine to 15 named storms, which include tropical storms, said meteorologist Stephen Carboni. Of those, four to eight will become hurricanes, with one to three becoming major hurricanes — Category 3 or greater.
Hurricanes are classified Category 3 once wind speeds reach 111 mph.
“The greater number of storms there are predicted, the higher the probability that one of those is going to impact land,” Carboni said. “However, even when it is a slow season all it takes is one, and it becomes memorable in that regard.”
This season will mark 20 years since Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm, struck in a season that was predicted to be “below normal.”
“The 1992 season was relatively quiet, aside from Hurricane Andrew,” Carboni said. “Again, all it takes is one.”
He said now is the time to begin making preparations for the season, as well as going over a hurricane supply checklist.
Sheriff Tony Mancuso reiterated that although the season is predicted to be less-active than the 2011 “above normal” season, “it only takes one to have a bad season.”
“With our close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, it’s important that we keep vigilant this hurricane season,” Mancuso said. “Knowing your vulnerability and the proper actions to take can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.”
He said residents should begin planning now.
“Start now and avoid the rush at home supply stores, supermarkets and other businesses that get crowded as hurricane watches and warnings are issued,” he said. “Don’t wait until the last minute.”
Robert Daughdril, emergency response coordinator for the Calcasieu Office of Emergency Preparedness, said the best defense against hurricane season is to “get a game plan.”
“Know what you are going to do in each instance — have a plan for if it’s a Category 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5,” he said. “It’s not good to make a decision under stress; know what you’re going to do ahead of time.”
Daughdril said the plan should consist of where you will go if you evacuate, what you will take with you and who will evacuate with you.
“Get a game plan and stick to it,” he said.
• Online: www.getagameplan.org.