How to Be Ready for a Hurricane

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — This could be a stormy year, hurricane-wise.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook calls for a 70% chance of up to 20 storms with winds forces of 39 miles per hour or stronger.

Up to 11 of those storms could officially become "hurricanes" —┬ástorms classified as having wind force of 74 miles per hour or higher. Up to six of those storms could be "major" hurricanes, with winds of 111 miles per hour or stronger:

Three climate factors that strongly control Atlantic hurricane activity are expected to come together to produce an active or extremely active 2013 hurricane season. These are:
  • A continuation of the atmospheric climate pattern, which includes a strong west African monsoon, that is responsible for the ongoing era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes that began in 1995
  • Warmer-than-average water temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea
  • El Nino is not expected to develop and suppress hurricane formation.

Americans along the Eastern Seaboard need to be ready, the agency says.

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"The start of hurricane season is a reminder that our families, businesses and communities need to be ready for the next big storm," says Joe Nimmich, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration associate administrator for response and recovery. "Preparedness today can make a big difference down the line, so update your family emergency plan and make sure your emergency kit is stocked."

Those preparation tips are just for starters.

Travelers , the Hartford, Conn.-based life insurance company, is out this week with some helpful tips to prepare against this year's potential version of Hurricane Sandy, which caused damage estimated at starting at $50 billion.

"While most severe hurricanes form later in the season, waiting to prepare could leave you without a plan for managing your risks, which includes reviewing hazards around your home or business, taking steps to help minimize damage and having necessary insurance coverages," says Marty Henry, senior vice president at Travelers Risk Control. "Planning for storm season is not something that should be taken lightly."