'It only takes one': Mayor Landrieu preaches hurricane preparedness _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu talks about progress in the city in the last year.

Local, state and federal officials have a simple message for residents on the even of hurricane season: have a plan ready and if an evacuation order is issued, get out.

"It only takes one bad storm to put you in a position that you don't want to be in," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said."We can only be as good as the people of the region and people of the state are."

Hurricane season officially starts Wednesday, though there have already been two named storms in the Atlantic this year. Weather forecasters are predicting a "normal" season of between 10 and 16 named storms in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, more than the relatively calm seasons of the past few years.

For the New Orleans region, peak hurricane season will still be at the end of August, though there's always a chance storms could hit the area at any time.

The season officially ends November 30.

City departments are preparing for the season, readying plans to assist in an evacuation and keep public safety services running in the city during a storm. Landrieu and other officials urged residents to begin planning for a hurricane now, including preparing an evacuation plan, and to evacuate as soon as possible after an order is given. Information on making a plan is available at the city's website, ready.nola.gov.

Those who need assistance with an evacuation should call 3-1-1 for more information.