MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – It’s the start of June and the official start of hurricane season.

That’s why officials from across New York state gathered at Red Cross on Long Island, to urge residents to start planning and packing for what may come.

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As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reports, images captured after the 1938 Long Island Express hurricane ravaged New England show homes upended, beaches wiped away, and flood to the second story of homes.

Fast forward more than 70 years, and Irene dumped nearly a foot of rain on portions of the Garden State. Historic flooding ensued.

Then, just over a year later, the Tri-State Area was targeted again. Superstorm Sandy lived up to its name, decimating our coastal communities with storm surge approaching 14 feet.

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“We don’t know what Mother Nature is going to wallop at us,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

NOAA predicts an above normal season, with 13 -20 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes, and as many as five major hurricanes with winds cranking beyond 157 mph. We’ve already recorded our first named storm of the season – Ana, which churned up the seas, but thankfully never came close to shore. Next up is Bill.

Preparing now is your best defense.

That means:

  • Establish a family meeting place and communication plan
  • Know your evacuation zone and route
  • Sign up for local alerts
  • Check your emergency kit: Does it have everything you need?
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Check your medications, copies of important documents – especially insurance policies – and keep enough water and non-perishable food for a week. Don’t forget keep your pets prepared too.

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In addition to planning, officials also hope residents will get involved. State officials notice “volunteer fatigue” in the wake of COVID.

“We desperately need the help from volunteers,” said NY American Red Cross volunteer Eileen Saccoccio.

Saccoccio traveled to rural Louisiana twice last summer in response to Cristobal then Hurricane Laura.

“Brought them food where they didn’t have any, had no grocery stores, no power,” she said.

She shares she could not believe the need.

“It was hard to leave when my time was up,” Saccoccio said.

She’s one of 300,000 Red Cross volunteers around the U.S. They make up 92% of the operation.

“We can’t get what we do done without the volunteers we have,” said Joe Spaccarelli, interim CEO of Red Cross Long Island.

Stepping up to help out – another way you can make sure we all weather this 2021 hurricane season safely together.

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Officials also ask we check on our neighbors and make sure they have a plan and kit ready to go.

Vanessa Murdock