Hurricane season officially begins

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June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Our first named system -- sub-tropical storm Alberto -- claimed at least five lives in North Carolina earlier this week and proved that it only takes one storm to cause widespread damage.

A state of emergency is in effect for several western Carolina counties.

Governor Roy Cooper toured damage in Polk County Thursday, where one woman was killed in a mudslide near US-176. Two journalists from WYFF were killed earlier this week after a tree fell on their car, following several days of heavy rain. Two people were also killed after a landslide triggered a gas explosion that leveled a home in Boone.

NOAA forecasters released their predictions for this year's hurricane season earlier this month.

They're predicting a 'near normal or above normal' season with 10-16 named storms. Between five and nine of those are expected to be hurricanes.

An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, including six hurricanes. In an average year, three of those would be 'major' storms, meaning they're classified as category 3-5.

2017 was forecasted to be an above-average season, and it was, with three devastating storms: Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Last year saw 17 named storms total, including 10 hurricanes.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long told NBC News, "the bottom line is, I don't think we're going to get a pass this year, I think it's going to be an active season."

Here along the coast, communities are gearing up and making their preparations.

Emerald Isle Town Manager, Frank Rush says "We've got our plans in place. Certainly our staff is well trained to deal with hurricanes and we will be monitoring all of the potential storms as they come up during the season and we'll be ready. Hopefully we won't have to do anything, hopefully they will all miss us this year."

Town officials say they are also making sure debris removal contractors are already in place so if a storm does come through, the response time can be faster.