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By Erin Smith

The National Hurricane Center is predicting an active Atlantic Hurricane Season for 2018 as well as implementing some changes to improve their forecasts. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has declared May 13-19 as Hurricane Preparedness Week. 

Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends on November 30th. Gov. Cooper encourages everyone to take steps to prepare themselves and their property for hurricane season. Some things you can do now is to prepare an emergency supply kit and to secure all important papers such as insurance papers, identification, and deeds to help in identifying you as the rightful property owner after the storm. 

During a storm it is also important that you stay abreast of the latest forecasts and movements of the storm. The National Hurricane Center has been busy making upgrades and changes to their forecasting system to help improve their forecast models. 

One important change being made at the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, Florida, is the implementation of a smaller forecasting cone that is referred to as the Cone of Uncertainty. This cone is the area in which the eye of the hurricane is most likely to track as it heads towards landfall. According to Forbes magazine, the eye generally stays somewhere within the cone of Uncertainty about 66 percent of the time. 

The smaller Cone of Uncertainty is indicative of many improvements that have been made over the years in forecasting and storm prediction that have decreased the margin of error, according to the National Hurricane Center. The National Hurricane Center reminds everyone that each storm is unique and each storm presents its own unique set of challenges in forecasting when and where the storm will make landfall. 

Another new feature the National Hurricane Center will offer is the estimated time of arrival for a particular location to start feeling the impacts of tropical storm force winds. The National Hurricane Center staff says it is critical to have reliable time estimations for the purposes of emergency management planning and timing evacuations and shelter openings. There will also be a 48-hour forecast for hurricane force winds. 

The National Hurricane Center staff hope these changes will make it easier to forecast when and where a hurricane will strike and what impacts will be felt by residents in the area.