As many as 23 named storms are predicted for hurricane season this year, as officials predict a higher-than-average season some are likening to the year that brought us Katrina.
Forecasters are predicting 14 to 23 storms this season, with eight to 14 becoming hurricanes and three to seven becoming what is designated as a major storm - a hurricane winds in excess of 111 mph.
Hurricane season begins June 1 and officials on the national, state and local level are again united as they issue their annual call to action: Be prepared.
Officials say public awareness and preparedness are the best defenses against a hurricane, and we agree.
It's time again to gather documents, compile supplies, and put together evacuation plans.
Among the things the state recommends we should all have stockpiled between June 1 and Nov. 30? Water and non-perishable food and snacks to last three to seven days; a non-electric can opener, paper plates and utensils we won't have to wash; flashlights and other portable, self-powered light sources; batteries, medications and ice chests.
Officials also suggest we ready portable and NOAA weather-band radios and waterproof tarps, and that we make sure we have containers of fuel for propane grills or portable generators.
Storm shutters or plywood for windows remain a good idea for battening down the hatches if and when a watch is issued.
If ordered to evacuate, we should all have important papers, Social Security cards, immunization records, cash and prescription medications at the ready along with special supplies for children, and carriers and food for any pets.
For more information on getting prepared, we invite you to visit cape-coral-daily-breeze.com where we have posted our annual Hurricane Guide.
It's under "specials" in the left hand column.
We will keep you updated, on-line and in print, as the season progresses. We invite you to sign up for our new Twitter and Facebook notifications, which will provide you with updates as they are received by our newsroom. The icon to sign up can be found on the top right hand of our homepage - just click on the page and then select "like" to stay informed.
We also urge Cape residents and businesses to register their phone numbers with the city of Cape Coral's Emergency RedAlert phone notification system. Using the system, officials can deliver pre-recorded emergency telephone notifications to the entire city or to geographically targeted areas at a rate of up to 60,000 calls per hour, officials said this week. Register on the city's website, www.capecoral.net , or call the Citizen's Action Center at 574-0425 to request that a name and number be added.
Be prepared. Be safe. And may this "active" season pass without any storms for the record books.
- Breeze editorial