This week marks national Hurricane Preparedness Week, as we approach the start of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1.

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Be ready: have water and supplies stored, especially for a long-term power outage, follow reports of a major weather event online or on the air, and have a family emergency plan if something like Sandy happens again. That's the advice of Mary Goepfert with the state Office of Emergency Management, who said predictions of a quieter hurricane season should not result in less awareness.

"Even though we have these overall forecasts, really what we need people to do is pay attention and not take any weather pattern for granted," Goepfert said.

The latest forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for this hurricane season call for a "normal" or "below normal" Atlantic pattern. El Niño in the Pacific will be a major factor, these predictions say, for keeping a lid on tropical storm development from now through the fall.

But Goepfert agrees that complacency can be a major enemy in keeping New Jersey's residents keen on being prepared for a major weather event.

Of special importance, she said, is making sure the elderly and disabled are taken care of in a weather emergency.