RICHMOND, Va. -- State emergency officials have been planning for hurricane season all year long.
Wednesday marked the first day of the season and officials are encouraging citizens to prepare if they haven't done so already.
Officials say that planning, communication and individual preparedness are things key to hurricane preparedness. Katie Carter with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said a coordinated effort among state agencies is underway year-round.
"We are making touchpoints with them at least once a week. And that's when nothing is going on," Carter said.
State police, social services, transportation and the National Guard are all involved in the process of preparing for emergencies. While state agencies perfect communication with each other, they're working toward the same goal with the public.
A new VDEM program called Partners in Preparedness works to identify trusted community voices to help spread the word.
"This program is really working to find whatever communication gap is there and get every Virginian this same life-saving information," Carter said.
This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an above-average season.
So far, there are 14 to 21 named storms. Six to 10 could become major hurricanes and three to six could become major.
"If this forecast proves to be correct, it will be seven consecutive years where we have seen above-normal activity for the Atlantic hurricane season," Carter said.
Daniel Melita with Pleasants Hardware in Richmond said that he's already seen a few people coming in for supplies.
"The last thing you want to do is having to go and run out and snag all this stuff when everybody else is probably doing the exact same thing," Melita said.
Right now, the store on Patterson Avenue is stocked.
"I've got lanterns, I've got flashlights. I've also got tarps to keep you dry or keep your belongings dry."
Carter said that people should also think about their family's specific needs, such as extra baby formula, medications or a generator.
Melita said that generators, while helpful, can be dangerous if people don't know how to use them correctly.
"People try to run generators in their homes. So make sure that you properly know how to do that and run generators outside of the home.
You can find more information about how to properly prepare here.