HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Long Island emergency officials are promoting preparedness a day before the start of hurricane season.

Last Friday, U.S. government forecasters announced they expect a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season after three relatively slow years.

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Suffolk and Nassau County officials are urging residents to be ready.

“It only takes one major storm to seriously disrupt our communities,” said Long Island Red Cross Interim CEO Liz Barker.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said there is a new reality for those in the business of being prepared.

“All of us involved in emergency management are treating extreme weather events as the new normal,” Bellone said. “There is nothing more important than being ready to respond immediately.”

Bellone added that people can sign up for immediate emergency notifications to their cellphones, home phones and be kept up-to-date in real time on what’s happening, CBS2’s Elise Finch reported.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said they are better prepared because of Superstorm Sandy.

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“There has just been a myriad of improvements from communication technology and asset acquisition that puts us in a better place,” Mangano said.

Residents should have an evacuation plan, as well as a three-day supply kit equipped with water, food and a flashlight.

“Be prepared, not scared,” Mangano said.

A representative from power company PSE&G said it has trimmed thousands of tress, made sub-station improvements and circuit upgrades to better withstand storms. Natural gas and electricity company National Grid discussed upgrades to its equipment and new mobile emergency operations centers. The Long Island Red Cross said it has a fleet of mobile relief trailers at the ready.

For more information on how to prepare, visit Ready.gov.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s outlook called for 10 to 16 named storms, with four to eight hurricanes and one to four “major” ones with winds reaching 111 miles per hour and up.

The long-term season averages are 12 named storms, with six hurricanes and three major ones.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially starts June 1, but tropical weather got a head-start this year: Hurricane Alex made an unseasonable debut in January over the far eastern Atlantic.

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