SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The 2016 hurricane season is less than two weeks away, and the National Hurricane Center wants to make sure Coast families are ready.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Awareness Tour is traveling the Gulf Coast, and made a stop in Mobile on Thursday.
"And I just don't want anyone to be hoping a hurricane goes elsewhere this year, and not do anything else. That puts us in a position of weakness," said Dr. Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center.
Knabb joined other experts in urging Gulf Coast residents to become "hurricane strong" by preparing for a storm before it arrives.
"The biggest message we want to send out is to the citizens [is] to know your evacuation zones, be prepared. Have a family preparedness kit. Download the FEMA app," FEMA Region 4 Director Gracia B. Szczech said at a morning news conference that kicked off the hurricane awareness tour.
While Dunn and the Biloxi based Hurricane Hunters are flying into the eye, NOAA pilots like Dave Cowan are taking smaller planes above and around the storms to take measurements.
"It's pretty humbling to be on top of a storm looking down on something that looks rather peaceful from up high, and realizing that it's sheer terror for a lot of people on the ground. So it's very humbling and rewarding to know what I'm doing up there is going to hopefully benefit somebody on the ground," said Cowan.
Forecasting has improved tremendously in recent years, giving residents more time to know where a storm is headed and when.
"However, where they haven't gained so much, is how strong the storms are going to be. We're still lagging behind a little bit there. But, that's a work in progress and a lot of research is dedicated to that. And I think we'll get there one day in the future," said hurricane specialist, John Cangialosi.
Hurricane check-lists should include reviewing insurance coverage, gathering hurricane supplies, checking evacuation routes and making sure homes are storm resistant.