The Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is preparing for what could be an unusually busy season.
"Now is the time for our residents to please have a plan ready," GOHSEP Director Kevin Davis said. "I know it's early storm season, but you just never know."
Federal forecasters are calling for what they say may be an "extremely active season this year."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's annual forecast calls for a very busy Atlantic Hurricane Season.
"There is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms," NOAA says on its website. "These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms."
"This year, oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes," said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "These conditions include weaker wind shear, warmer Atlantic waters and conducive winds patterns coming from Africa."
As we saw last year, tropical storms and category one hurricanes can do some serious damage.
Hurricane Isaac moved over Southeast Louisiana as a category one storm. It traveled so slowly that the impact from wind and surge was far greater than expected based on past history with a "minor" hurricane.
"With the devastation of Sandy fresh in our minds, and another active season predicted, everyone at NOAA is committed to providing life-saving forecasts in the face of these storms and ensuring that Americans are prepared and ready ahead of time." said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., NOAA acting administrator. "As we saw first-hand with Sandy, it's important to remember that tropical storm and hurricane impacts are not limited to the coastline. Strong winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes often threaten inland areas far from where the storm first makes landfall."
Of the 13 to 20 named storms, NOAA says, "7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)."