Hurricane season begins today: Here's what you need to know

Hurricane season for the Atlantic officially starts on Thursday and will end in November. Here are some key need-to-knows.

Based on the severity of the damage caused by hurricanes in the past, officials say it's not too early to start preparing now.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, or NOAA, says there is a "45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season."

Click through photos of the destruction of Hurricane Sandy:

There is also a 70 percent chance of 11 to 17 named storms during Hurricane season this year, including up to four major hurricanes.

A few names set for Hurricane season this year include Harvey, Vince, Maria and Don.

Hurricanes have winds reaching 74 miles per hour and major hurricane winds can hit 111 miles per hour.

In order to prepare for a storm officials say families need to talk about where they will go for safety.

"Have a family discussion about what you will do, where you will go and how you will communicate with each other when a storm threatens," acting FEMA administrator Robert J. Fenton, Jr. advised.

"Know your evacuation route; tune into your local news or download the FEMA app to get alerts, and finally – listen to local authorities as a storm approaches," he continued.

Full list of hurricane names for this year:

Arlene
Bret
Cindy
Don
Emily
Franklin
Gert
Harvey
Irma
Jose
Katia
Lee
Maria
Nate
Ophelia
Philippe
Rina
Sean
Tammy
Vince
Whitney

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