NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KETK) — Last year there were 21 named tropical storms, and weather experts expect this season to be just as busy. That’s why the hurricane community emergency response team held a meeting in Nacogdoches Wednesday to make sure East Texans stay ahead of the storms.

“This is the seventh consecutive season that we’ve had a hurricane form prior to June 1, which is the start of hurricane season and it’s the sixth consecutive season that we have been above normal for hurricanes,” said Brandon Throne, meteorologist.

With hurricanes forming earlier, the National Weather Services is talking about moving the season start date to May.

“Four of those hurricanes became major hurricanes, which the average is about three. So we were a little above normal on hurricanes last year and that’s kind of what we are expecting for this year as well,” said Thorne.

East Texas tends to experience flooding or tornados from hurricanes, but the after-effects from the storm can be worse than the actual impact.

“In the past four years, we’ve actually seen more deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning and heat-related deaths after the storm than we have from the impacts of the actual storm itself,” said Thorne.

It is always best to be prepared early. Have a to-go bag ready, know where you need to seek shelter and who to contact after.

“You want to make sure that you know your risk, because after you find out what those risks are for your home, the next thing you are going to want to do is make a plan. You want to make some kind of family emergency plan because chances are likely that in the moment, same thing as with a tornado,” said Thorne. “If there is a tornado coming towards our house and we are trying to prepare, then most likely we’re going to make the wrong choice.”

When a hurricane hits it can be a scary and confusing time. That’s where the emergency response team comes in. They’re there to provide you with information on where you can get water, blankets and other key essentials.

“What we hope to do at the radio station is just be able to give people clear directions on where they can get help and who they can contact too, and then help all those organizations get the word out,” said Michelle Ross, KSWP/KAVX president.

The emergency response team was started in 2021 before hurricane season. KSWP and KAVX‘s radio station in Lufkin formed the group to help communicate with the community about where they can receive help after a disaster. Easing the confusion and stress before and after the storm.

“I think it’s really important for the community to have a place where agencies they can count on getting information,” said Ross.

The Shreveport National Weather Service recommends that you start paying attention to the forecast no more than five days out, that way you can have a plan to keep your family safe in case disaster strikes.

To stay up to date on the hurricane season in East Texas, visit KETK’s Tracking the Tropics page.