FEMA administrator delivers strong preparedness message at National Hurricane Conference in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency's administrator had a strong message of preparedness at this year's National Hurricane Conference in Orlando.

Craig Fugate told attendees that now is the time to prepare and urged them to ignore the forecasters' prediction of a "quiet hurricane season."

"First thing you have to understand is a seasonal forecast doesn't mean anything. If you live in Florida, you better know about hurricanes and what to do," he said.

The goal of the conference is to showcase the latest technology and products available to prepare the public for disaster.

Colorado State University scientists have been forecasting the hurricane seasons for decades.

This year they predict a total of nine named storms, three becoming hurricanes, including one major storm.

"We think it's going to be a little quieter than normal just given the fact that we think we're going to see a pretty significant El Nino develop," said Phil Klotzbach, a forecaster for the university and speaker at this year's conference.

Fugate pointed out during his speech that this year's so-called "quiet forecast" is about one storm off from the forecast in 1992.

That was the year of Hurricane Andrew.

"The seasonal forecasts -- it's for the scientists. For the public, your message doesn't change," he said.

Just like in years past, scientists continue to say Tampa Bay is overdue for the "big one."

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