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L.I. Officials Urge Preparedness For Upcoming Hurricane Season

BETHPAGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Long Island officials are urging preparedness for the upcoming hurricane season, which begins Sunday.

Although forecasters are expecting a slower-than-usual hurricane season, officials are still advising residents to be ready.

Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, Long Island chief executive of the American Red Cross John Miller and Suffolk County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services Commissioner Joseph Williams got together on Friday to discuss preparations for the start of the hurricane season.

They emphasized having an evacuation plan and a supply kit ready, equipped with nonperishable food, bottled water and a flashlight.

“Refresh the food, refresh the water, make sure you have the medications and they aren’t expired,” said Miller.

“We are in a much better prepared state post-Sandy because it was so devastating. It taught us new lessons, but bottom line you can never be too prepared,” said Mangano.

Officials said there are more emergency trailers stocked with food and water; more high axle vehicles to navigate flooded streets; more county boats to access canals; more generators; and more coordination between municipalities, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.

“We are seeing more extreme weather and science is telling us those are going to increase over time so it is incumbent upon us as government officials to make sure we are ready,” said Bellone.

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Officials expect about eight to 13 named tropical storms and three to six hurricanes. Just one or two major hurricanes with winds over 110 miles per hour are forecast.

Last year, there were 13 named storms and two hurricanes, Umberto and Ingrid, both of which were Category 1, the lowest on the scale that measures hurricanes by wind speed. There were no major hurricanes.

Long Beach residents told WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs that they learned some important lessons in 2012 when Superstorm Sandy slammed the area.

“This time I would leave, I didn’t leave last time,” one man said.

“When they say watch out, you know, you watch out,” one woman said. “I’ve got a box with everything in it — blankets, water — and I can survive for a couple of days.”

In Massapequa Shores, where homes and cars were flooded during Sandy, Jeri Suhrland is bracing for the upcoming season, CBS 2’s Gusoff reported.

“Any papers I would need. Insurance papers are all together now,” Suhrland said.

Neighbors too are stocked with canned food and water. No one in the neighborhood takes hurricane preps lightly anymore.

“I have generators that I didn’t have before,” said Tony Fantaci.

Officials urged residents who live in storm surge zones to update their family evacuation plan. They said even those who live far from water should make sure they are stocked up on water, food and medicine, and to prepare for power outages.

During the six-month season, forecasters name tropical storms when top winds reach 39 mph; hurricanes have maximum winds of at least 74 mph.

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