I'm sure that people who live in landlocked areas of the country think that those of us living along the coast have some sort of morbid fascination with hurricanes. I once worked with a guy from Nebraska who thought it was laughable that businesses and schools closed down and that cities were completely evacuated ahead of a hurricane. Of course, this same guy thought that Nebraska was the cultural hub of the world, so that shows you how much he knew.

At any rate, he must have ticked off Mother Nature with his scoffing because, sure enough, the hurricane he was laughing about decided to hit the town where I was working. He found out the hard way that hurricanes are a lot more than "just some wind and rain" as he put it. He came back to work after the hurricane and he had a completely different attitude. He learned the hard way.

This year's predictions are out, and the folks who predict such things at Colorado State University are calling for the number of named storms and hurricanes to be near historical averages.

According to their forecast, we can expect a total of 12 named storms this year. They are also predicting a total of 5 hurricanes, with two being major storms. The criteria for a "major" storm is a Category 3 or higher.

The CSU outlook is based on a combination of 29 years of statistical predictors, combined with analog seasons exhibiting similar features of sea-level pressure and sea-surface temperatures in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans.

In the meantime, those of us who live in coastal areas know that Hurricane Season means that it's time to get our hurricane kits together with all the things we'll need in case we get hit this year.

A good idea is to prepare two different kits. The first is one for everything you'll need if you have to evacuate. Just think of it as going on vacation. Pack everything you might need for at least a one week trip. It will be a lot easier if you leave a couple of bags packed all the time.

The second kind of kit is for if you plan to stay and ride out the storm, so you'll obviously need all sorts of emergency supplies to last up to a couple of weeks. Here is a great list of things you'll probably end up needing if we get hit again this year.

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