As many as 20 named storms are predicted for hurricane season this year, as officials anticipate a slightly higher-than-average season.
Forecasters are predicting 13 to 20 storms through November, with eight to 14 becoming hurricanes and three to six becoming what is designated as a major storm - a hurricane winds in excess of 111 mph.
Hurricane season began June 1 and officials on the national, state and local level are again united as they issue their annual call to action: Be prepared.
Officials say public awareness and preparedness are the best defenses against a hurricane.
With the first Tropical Storm of the season, Andrea, on the books, we agree.
It's time again to gather documents, compile supplies, and put together evacuation plans.
Among the things the state recommends we should all have stockpiled between June 1 and Nov. 30? Water and non-perishable food and snacks to last three to seven days; a non-electric can opener, paper plates and utensils we won't have to wash; flashlights and other portable, self-powered light sources; batteries, medications and ice chests.
Officials also suggest we ready portable and NOAA weather-band radios and waterproof tarps, and that we make sure we have containers of fuel for propane grills or portable generators.
Storm shutters or plywood for windows remain a good idea for battening down the hatches if and when a watch is issued.
If ordered to evacuate, we should all have important papers, Social Security cards, immunization records, cash and prescription medications at the ready along with special supplies for children, and carriers and food for any pets.
For more information on getting prepared, we invite you to visit: www.lehighacrescitizen.com, where we have posted our annual Hurricane Guide.
It's on the right side of the Web site.
We will keep you updated, on-line and in print, as the season progresses. We invite you to sign up for Facebook notifications, which will provide you with updates as they are received by our newsroom. The icon to sign up can be found on the top right hand of our homepage - just click on the page and then select "like" to stay informed.
Be prepared. Be safe. And may this "active" season pass without any storms for the record books.
- Citizen editorial