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Officials Meet On L.I. To Discuss Hurricane Preparedness

Emergency command vehicles lined up outside a hurricane conference in Uniondale, NY on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Emergency command vehicles lined up outside a hurricane conference in Uniondale, NY on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – As the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl head out to sea, Long Island and New York City emergency management officials are meeting to discuss how to better prepare and respond to hurricanes.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

More than 600 first responders, emergency managers and elected officials from the region are attending the two-day conference on hurricane preparedness in Uniondale, sponsored by the Long Island Power Authority.

The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season begins Friday and forecasters predict this year’s hurricane season will produce a normal number of about nine to 15 tropical storms. As many as four to eight of those could become hurricanes.

Officials in New York said they need better forecasting to help prepare for any storms that could hit our area.

Speaking at the conference Wednesday morning, director of the National Hurricane Center, William Read, admitted they could have done better with Hurricane Irene last August.

“With Irene, it was one of our, I’ll be blunt, one of our worst intensity forecasts in recent memory,” he said. “We were fully expecting Irene to be a 100 knot hurricane on the North Carolina coast and still be a hurricane as it came in to Long Island.”

By the time Irene hit the Tri-state area, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm, but Read told officials it’s still a good idea to order early evacuations if it looks like a big storm is headed our way.

“You don’t have the time to say ‘oops’ later and get people moving when you have this much population in harm’s way,” he said.

LIPA chief Michael Hervey said the power company will be more up-front when it comes to information on restoring power after storms.

LIPA was criticized last year for its response to outages following Irene after some Long Island residents were left without power for more than a week.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)