WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — While it’s probably a bit early to head to the grocery store to stock up on bread and milk, the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins a week from Saturday.

The nation’s top weatherman, acting NOAA Administrator Dr. Neil Jacobs, says the current outlook calls for a near-normal season, with a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms.

“Of those, four to eight will become hurricanes with top winds of at least 74 miles an hour,” Jacobs said.

NOAA says that could include two to four hurricanes that reach category 3, 4, or 5.

Last year, forecasters predicted a 75 percent chance that the hurricane season would be near or above normal. According to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, four named storms were active at the same time in 2018.

“The storms that impacted the U.S. in 2018 caused $50 billion in damage,” Ross said.

Dr. Jacobs says it is critical for people to take hurricane preparedness seriously.

“Preparing means reviewing and creating your emergency evacuation plans and gathering your supplies,” he explained.

Dr. Daniel Kanieswki, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s deputy administrator for resilience, says it’s never too early to prepare, especially if you live in a coastal community.

“It only takes one land-falling hurricane to cause great destruction to a community,” he said.

NOAA and FEMA say they stand ready to serve the nation before, during and after any storm.