The official start of hurricane season is only a couple of days away.

If you live on a barrier island, along the cost, in a flood-prone area or a mobile home park, you're at greater risk and should consider developing a survival plan and emergency kit.

New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson says the tropical season usually gets in gear in August, but “you can certainly have early-season storms."

Hurricane Agnes, which swept up from the Caribbean during the second week of June 1972, eventually brought strong winds and heavy rains to the region. At the time, Agnes was the costliest U.S. hurricane in recorded history.

“It’s not out of the question, even if we don’t get any direct impact from a storm early in the season, we can certainly get moisture come up into this region," he said.

Tropical systems and hurricanes can be extremely unpredictable and show up at unusual times, such as when Superstorm Sandy slammed the Garden State in October 2012.

Jake Lees, the deputy coordinator of the Atlantic County Office of Emergency Management, says hurricane prep plans have already begun and officials are encouraging residents to be ready in case an evacuation is necessary.

“Try to make a pre-plan, have somewhere to go, whether it’s in Pennsylvania or west of the coast," he said.

"The last place residents want to be is in a shelter," he warned. “In a lot of cases it’s going to be a quarter-inch mat on the floor and we’re going to give them some water and some food to keep them alive for a day or two.”

Lees stressed in the event a major storm heads our way, “when we ask you to leave, please leave, and if you do stay, we’re not going to be able to get help to you.”

Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden, who oversees operations at the county OEM, says you need to start thinking about having a contingency plan, which means “stocking up on some water, some extra batteries, some flashlights; make sure you have a cell phone charger and your medications.”

He stresses if an evacuation is necessary, make sure you batten down the hatches and don’t forget about all of your stuff outside.

“These are umbrellas, coolers, chairs that can go flying around that you should take in and secure so they don’t hurt somebody or do damage," Golden said.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com.

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