Experts prepare for hurricane season at the Jersey Shore

OCEAN CITY, N.J. (WPVI) -- Hurricane season officially begins next week and this year experts are predicting it will be not as harsh.

While it may be early in the season, local officials are getting ready now for whatever storms come up the East Coast.

For the pros, now is the time to evaluate evacuation, shelter plans, check lines of communications and perform an inventory of supplies.

As for residents, the pros are hoping they pay attention and be prepared should something come roaring out of the Atlantic Ocean.

Cape May County has 90,000 year-round residents. But on a mid summer weekend, add 600,000 visitors.

Mix in a hurricane and things can get crazy fast.

"We're getting to roll with hurricane season here within just a week," said Tim Settles from the American Red Cross.

Among the topics at this conference on emergency preparedness are lessons learned and efforts being made to improve official online information sites.

Post-Sandy social media claiming south Jersey beaches still had power brought returnees back way to soon.

"Massive traffic jams trying to get into Cape May County because not all the barrier islands were clear yet. We had downed power wires, we had flooding, we had sinkholes, we had gas leaks," said Martin Pagliughi from Cape May County Emergency Management.

A hurricane will knock out power. Atlantic Electric points to its phone app. Once set up it can tell a post-storm customer when power will return.

"There should be information on when we estimate their power will be restored," said Vince Mailon, President of Atlantic City Electric.

On display today was a mobile animal shelter. Countless pets died in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. People died as well when some refused to evacuate with out their pets.

"It's a people issue. People can and have died because they wouldn't leave their pets behind. And during Katrina lives were lost because people would not leave without their pets," said Shari Silverman from the Garden State Animal Resource Team.

Dr. Silverman says pet owners need to plan ahead. On websites like Ready Pets Go, there is a check list of what to do and have before a storm arrives.

She adds that just like people have go-packs for evacuation on the shore, pet owners should also have one ready for their pets including bowls, food and a carrier.

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