Reporter: Sally Delta
Lynchburg, VA - Hurricane season will officially begin June 1, and even though we aren't right along the coast, emergency responders want everyone in Virginia to get prepared now.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released information Thursday that says we could see anywhere from 9 to 15 named storms this season. Only a fraction of those will turn into full scale hurricanes, but it's always best to be prepared.
Just last year, Hurricane Irene left more than half a million people without power in Virginia. There's video of Gov. Bob McDonnell assessing the damage in Hampton Roads and Richmond. The same storm also caused a lot of damage farther north in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, miles from the coast.
"A perfect example is when Camille came through here in 1969 and as it moved through the region it brought tons and tons of heavy rainfall," said Matt Ferguson, meteorologist.
Red Cross Disaster service manager Beverly Gaydas says, no matter where you live, you should always be ready for a disaster.
"If you have a family you want to keep them safe and to do that you need to be prepared and it doesn't take long to do," she said.
She says start with a family plan, decide where you will go to escape, and then make an emergency kit.
"In that kit should be flashlights, batteries, first aid supplies and one gallon of water per person per day," said Gaydas.
To avoid losing power altogether, it's a good idea to have a generator on hand for backup. One of the least expensive generators at Lowes is $330, and you can run a refrigerator and TV at the same time for up to 10 hours.
Gaydas says the biggest mistake is not preparing at all because a disaster can happen to any of us.
The sales tax holiday to help you prep for hurricane season starts Friday. For the next week, you won't have to pay sales tax on items like batteries, flashlights and two-way radios.
Get more information about the holiday and a list of items included.