You need to be brave to live in the Sunshine State, especially if you live in Central Florida.
Yes, we have beautiful beaches, lush green landscapes and many eye-catching buildings and homes, but it can all be destroyed when a hurricane comes ashore.
It doesn't matter how long you've lived here or how many storms you've lived through, you never want to take hurricane season for granted.
Andrew, Charley and Katrina have proven that hurricanes can level the sturdiest homes, snap trees like toothpicks, and they can kill.
Right now, I can't tell you when or where the next hurricane will strike, but I can tell you we continue to be in an active hurricane cycle that began in the mid-1990s.
According to hurricane experts at Colorado State University, we can expect to see 17 named storms, nine of those as hurricanes and five of those are likely to be major hurricanes.
But wait, the news only gets better.
The potential of at least one major hurricane impacting the East Coast has been increased to 50 percent. For those who need a refresher in geography, that includes us!
The reason for this gets a little technical. It's due to a weak La Nina pattern in the Pacific Ocean. This is causing cooler water temperatures which, in turn, causes the winds to be weaker aloft.
Strong winds in the upper atmosphere are our best defense against hurricanes. Hurricanes are no match for these winds. They weaken and destroy organized storms. Sadly, we can't count on their help very often this summer.
You also want to pay attention to an item called the Bermuda High.
This is a key steering component of hurricanes. If a Bermuda High sets up just east of Florida, it steers hurricanes toward the Gulf Coast. If it sets up over Bermuda then the Florida coast, Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast are in for a very busy season.
That's the time to be brave.
Prepare and plan now for hurricane season.
Don't wait until you're watching me on WESH 2 showing you where the next storm is headed.
Shop now for the necessary supplies your family will need should you lose power.
Plan your evacuation route and keep your gas tank full.
Stock up on any medicines you may need and stash away a little cash. Gather your insurance policy, important papers and priceless photos and put them in one box that is easy to grab should you need to evacuate.
Remember, there's no reason to be brave, when you're prepared.
Meet Tony Mainolfi
The WESH 2 Meteorologist will be at the following locations from 4-6:30 p.m.
. May 4: Daytona Beach, near Speedway and Daytona International Airport.
. May 7: Titusville.
. May 8: Rockledge.
. May 10: Kennedy Space Center.
. May 11: New Smyrna Beach.
Tony Mainolfi is the WESH 2 News meteorologist.