The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season will be an active one, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted.
The NOAA's Climate Prediction Center said there is a 70 percent chance of 13 to 20 named storms, of which seven to 11 could become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes. The ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
A storm is named if winds are 39 mph or higher and becomes a hurricane if winds reach 74 mph or higher. Major hurricanes -- Category 3, 4 or 5 -- inflict winds of 111 mph or higher.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.
"This year, oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic basin are expected to produce more and stronger hurricanes," Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said in a press statement. "These conditions include weaker wind shear, warmer Atlantic waters and conducive winds patterns coming from Africa."
The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is urging coastal residents to be prepared.
"While the hurricane risk is greatest in Florida, Hurricane Sandy reminded us that any area along the coast is vulnerable," Christopher Hackett, PCI's director of personal lines policy, said in a press statement. "We urge consumers to reduce their exposure to loss and make certain that they have adequate insurance coverage, including a separate flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program."
A variety of consumer resources are available through the PCI Hurricane Headquarters.