NY prepares for hurricane season - New York News

NY prepares for hurricane season

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Forecasters are predicting an above average and possibly extremely active hurricane season.

According to the National Hurricane Center, this year there will be an expected 13-20 named storms – of those 11 will become hurricanes and three to six of which will be major -- meaning Category 3 hurricanes.

There is also growing concern about the U.S. satellites used to track major weather events.

They orbit 22,000 miles above the earth's equator capturing images and information critical for saving lives on the ground.

Fox 5 meteorologist Nick Gregory says forecasters rely on satellite data to track storms.

"The satellite photograph is our eye on the tropical ocean, that's how we know where the storms are and where they're going to go," said Gregory.

We've seen the devastation caused when tropical weather arrives, but imagine if we didn't know the details of a storm path.

A scary possibility highlighted in a news government accountability office report. The report notes that aging satellites could affect the accuracy in predicting major weather events.

In the month of May, Nick Gregory says GOES-13, which covers much of the East Coast went down.

"So it is reasonable concern. We do need to upgrade our technology. We shouldn't be waiting years to do this," said Gregory.

"And I'm still not satisfied with what we are doing at the federal level," said Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY).

Addressing concerns of local emergency responders, Long Island Congressman Steve Israel recently wrote a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – wondering how budget cuts could impact forecasting data.

"There's still so much that we need to do to keep our New Yorkers and keep our people in the Metropolitan area safe, and we still haven't learned all of the lessons that we should have learned since the last hurricane," said Congressman Israel.

With an active hurricane season predicted this year, many agencies haven't just been busy building back from Sandy, but preparing for future storms.

The MTA has built seawalls to protect the rebuilt Rockaway line and Con Edison added a mile of concrete walls and steel gates to defend its network of equipment.

As for those satellites, a backup for GOES was activated, if that fails, reports say there is no replacement.

"If we can't get that data or if the data is compromised in any way – now we are putting safety at risk," said Gregory.

Forecasters are already tracking some weather in the Gulf of Mexico, so it's something to keep an eye on. Hurricane Season starts on June 1st and lasts all the way until November 30th.

For more information about what you can do to prepare, visit the NYC Office of Emergency Management's website.

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