MIAMI (CBS4) – Here we go again.  Check your battery, water and canned food supplies. The 2011 Atlantic Hurricane season is officially underway.

This year the tough task of guessing what hurricane season will look is a bit tougher for foresters.  That’s because they won’t be able to rely on the relatively predictable forces known as El Nino and La Nina, warming and cooling trends, which can either rev up hurricanes or suppress them. But both of them are expected to be neutral this year.

That could make it more difficult to say how busy the 2011 hurricane season will be.

Earlier this month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its updated prediction for the year and deemed that it will be an above normal season with 12-18 named storms, of which, 6-10 could become hurricanes, with a 3-6 of those becoming major hurricanes of Category 3 or higher.

The first named storm of the 2011 season will be Arlene. The busiest part of hurricane season is typically in August and September and ends on November 30th.

Last year’s hurricane season was well above average with the most number of named storms since 2005. In 2010, there were 19 named storms, 12 of which became hurricanes.

Since South Florida hasn’t seen a devastating storm since Hurricane Wilma hit in 2005, emergency managers worry that many people won’t take the time to stock supplies and have a plan in place just in case we are threatened with a storm.

The National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service recommends that families not only make and discuss their emergency plans, but also know their home’s vulnerability to wind, flooding and storm surge. Now is the time to locate the safest place in the home, away from windows, or find the closest shelter.

It’s also not a bad idea to have an out of state friend as a single family contact in case members get separated.

Now is also the time to check your homeowner’s insurance coverage and flood insurance.

Also make sure you have a plan on what to do with pets since there only a few pet friendly shelters in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.

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