The Atlantic will experience a rougher than normal hurricane season this year with up to 10 hurricanes, the US weather service forecast Thursday.
"The United States was fortunate last year. Winds steered most of the season's tropical storms and all hurricanes away from our coastlines," said Jane Lubchenco, who heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"However we can't count on luck to get us through this season. We need to be prepared, especially with this above-normal outlook."
The weather service predicted that the Atlantic basin will experience 12 to 18 named storms between June 1 and November 1.
Six to 10 of those storms could reach hurricane strength with sustained winds of more than 74 miles per hour (119 kilometers per hour).
Three to six of those storms could be major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 miles per hour or higher (187 kilometers per hour.)
The seasonal average is 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
Landfall is dictated by weather patterns at the time the storm approaches and hurricane impacts often reach far inland.
"The tornadoes that devastated the south and the large amount of flooding we've seen this spring should serve as a reminder that disasters can happen anytime and anywhere," said Craig Fugate, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"Now is the time, if you haven't already, to get your plan together for what you and your family would do if disaster strikes."
(c) 2011 AFP