Emergency managers prepare for above-average hurricane season

The one thing we know for sure about hurricanes is they're bigger than all of us. What we don't know is how many there will be, if they'll hit land, or how strong they'll be.  

While the average is 14, NOAA is predicting 13 to 20 named storms, and three to five Category 3 or above.  

Last year, there were 30 named storms.

RELATED: NOAA expects above-average hurricane season in 2021

"It is interesting to look at, in this day and age, when we are craving data and we want that information," said FOX 13 Meteorologist Tyler Eliasen. "But at the end of the day, one storm is all it takes."

BLOG: Tyler breaks down the NOAA forecast

On Thursday, Hillsborough County Emergency Management showed off its new sandbag filling machine as they urged people to get ready, not just by stocking up on water, non-perishable food, and flashlights, but by knowing which evacuation zone you're in and how you'll keep loved ones who may be more fragile, safe.

"It is important that no one becomes complacent," said Marcus Martin of the Hillsborough EOC. "We need to make sure we respond as appropriate, and when officials give an order to evacuate, it's important we all follow those actions."

They also highlighted the importance of generator safety and gave a tour of their new "ambubus," a school bus retrofitted for evacuating patients with special needs, like from a nursing home.

RELATED: NOAA testing new drone technology to hunt hurricanes

"We would still be sending in regular ambulances, but this is going to open up those resources and can cut down the time significantly," said Jay Rajyaguru, a coordinator at the Hillsborough County Dept. of Emergency Management.

Hillsborough County is urging residents to learn their evacuation zones by checking this website will in advance of any storms.

PDF: FOX 13's 2021 Hurricane Guide