West Lafayette, Indiana - Early forecasts for this hurricane season predict an average to slightly above average number of storms, but one researcher has a bit of advice: prepare for the worst.

“Last year, most of the predictions were for a slightly below average year for hurricane activity, and that was not the case,” said Dan Chavas, an assistant professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at Purdue University. “My best advice is to prepare for the worst no matter what the seasonal forecast is, because all it takes is one hurricane.”

Knowing which hazards are most likely to come with storms in your area is a good first step, said Chavas. Common hazards include storm surge along the coasts, inland flooding from heavy rainfall, tornadoes, strong winds and large waves.

Chavas also pointed to insurance as an important part of hurricane preparedness. Standard homeowners and renters insurance doesn’t typically cover flood damage, but the National Flood Insurance Program protects property owners from the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster. Everything you need to know about the program can be found here

Better than listening to him, he says, is visiting the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website on hurricane preparedness. Officials there recommend having a designated place to go in case of emergency, making a family emergency communication plan, finding out which emergency notification alerts are available in your area and more.