(TNS) — With some predictions already out for an above average hurricane season in 2018, authorities gathered on Wednesday to urge people to be prepared for storms that may lie ahead.
In 2017, devastating storms dealt destruction to parts of the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean, said Gov. John Bel Edwards. Louisiana escaped most of the storms' wrath by luck alone.
"We cannot control what the weather will do, but we can control how we prepare," Edwards said from Baton Rouge Metro Airport, flanked by municipal authorities, military leaders and federal meteorologists.
"It's not a matter of if but when" said newly sworn-in New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell.
The airport served as a backdrop for the 2018 NOAA Hurricane Awareness Tour, which gave local residents and news reporters an opportunity to view the "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft used to track hurricanes and talk to hurricane experts, scientists and local and state first responders.
Ken Graham, recently selected to head the National Hurricane Center in Miami, told attendees that they need to be ready for a big hurricane.
"Even with a good forecast, the storm still comes. ... It only takes one to make a busy season," he said.
Coastal residents need to be ready to fend for themselves for 72 hours after a devastating event, Brock Long, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told those attending Wednesday's event.
Edwards encouraged residents to visit GetAGamePlan.org for information on how to prepare for the immediate aftermath of a disaster before the National Guard, State Police and Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are able to mobilize.
"This is critically important. ... Every season brings new uncertainty," the governor remarked.
Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and runs through November. The federal government has not yet released it's seasonal outlook, but watchdogs at Colorado State University have predicted an above-average 2018 season with 14 named storms.
Military scientists showed politicians and members of the public the aircraft they'll use to keep tabs on bad weather.
Hurricane hunters are ready to fly into the eye of the storm with special aircraft, they said.
©2018 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.
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