The countdown is over and hurricane season begins. It runs until the end of November, meaning now is the time to get ready.
One month before hurricane season officially started we had our first name storm, as Mother Nature decided hurricane season is coming early. Alberto formed in the Atlantic and dissipated in days and just two weeks later Beryl rolled in making landfall in Jacksonville over the Memorial Day Weekend.
"To think, we've had two named storms already before hurricane season even started? I think that is a reminder to everyone that, ‘Hey hurricane season is serious'," said American Red Cross' Executive Director, Bob Pearce.
Knowing the seriousness, resident Tony Stalmaker already has his emergency hurricane kit together, but doesn't feel like it's enough.
"At the end of the day I don't think anybody can be prepared enough," Stalmaker said.
"You need to have a kit, water for everybody, medications, to have food, to have important documents, to have some cash, to have some battery powered radio or television, to have flashlights…all those kind of things that we talk about all the time have all oft hose things in a box ready to use," Pearce added.
American Red Cross officials and county and school leaders met Friday to put together their plan and they want to make sure families do the same.
"What I ask people to do today is make sure people do something this year to make sure they are more prepared than last year," said Bay County's Director of Emergency Services, Mark Bowen.
Bowen says once you have your supplies to then check your evaluation zones. The zones help officials direct which areas of the county need to be evacuated and when.
"They need to do the basics to make sure they are going to be able to stay alive. Once they got that accomplished and time to research further, then they need to make sure to find out what kind of evacuations they are in," Bowen added.
The National Hurricane Center predicted 9-15 named storms this year, but weather experts say it only takes one storm to bring disaster.
To see Bay County's evacuation zones, click here.
For a hurricane kit, click here.