With summer fast approaching, Eastern North Carolina is preparing for not only sweltering temperatures but the beginning of hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.

North Carolina has the dubious honor of being among the leading states in terms of annual hurricane damage, along with Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Communities across the state are well acquainted with the destructive potential of one of nature’s most lethal forces, with many still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

This week is Hurricane Preparedness Week. The American Red Cross advises residents to prepare hurricane kits. Here are 13 things you should have in advance of hurricane season.

1. Copies of insurance papers and identification sealed in a watertight plastic bag

2. First-aid kit

3. Weather radio and batteries

4. Prescription medicines, enough during and after the storm

5. Sleeping bag or blankets

6. Changes of clothes

7. Hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and deodorant

8. Cash, ATM machines may not be operational

9. Pet supplies including food, water, leashes, bedding, muzzle and vaccination records

10. Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation routes to take and have a plan for where you can stay.

11. If you stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days.

12. Make a family emergency communication plan.

13. Sign up for community text or email alert systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available, search the Internet with your town, city, or county name and the word “alerts.”

Gov. Roy Cooper proclaimed this week as North Carolina Hurricane Preparedness Week.

“Hurricane Matthew hit us more than eighteen months ago and we’re working hard along with families, businesses and communities to recover and rebuild,” Cooper said in a statement. “We know from experience that all hurricanes and tropical storms should be taken seriously. Now is the time to get ready to protect your home and family from the next storm."

The National Hurricane Center stresses that impacts from hurricanes or tropical storms extend beyond just wind. They include heavy rain and inland flooding, storm surge, tornadoes and rip currents. According to the hurricane center, water accounts for 80 percent of tropical related deaths, with wind accounting for less than 10 percent.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's final report on Hurricane Matthew, North Carolina had more loss of life than all other states combined with 25. Overall, the storm killed 34 in the United States. Of the 25 deaths in North Carolina, 24 were flood related and 19 came from people either walking or driving into floodwaters and being swept away. Three people died in Lenoir County, one while trying to rescue a horse from floodwater, another who drove a car around a barricade blocking a flooded road and another who drowned in a shed. No deaths were reported in Craven County.