When is hurricane season? Stay prepared for the next hurricane or storm headed your way.

It’s always better knowing when the hurricane season is. Being prepared can save many from the drastic effects of a hurricane. The hurricane season in the North Atlantic, also known as the Atlantic Hurricane season, is determined by the National Hurricane Centre, a research division of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A typical hurricane is a tropical cyclone in the North Atlantic. These tropical cyclones can also be called tropical storms or tropical depressions. The best way to prepare for a hurricane, according to NOAA, is to put together a hurricane kit, check your house for a shoddy shutter or roof and stay informed.

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When is hurricane season?

Hurricane season lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30. The majority of the hurricanes or Atlantic tropical cyclone activity, over 97%, occurs during the six-month season.

The most active month for hurricanes or tropical storms is September while the least active month is May globally, according to NOAA.

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Can hurricanes occur outside the hurricane season?

Some hurricane activity can and does occur outside of the hurricane season, but it only accounts for 3% of the total hurricanes. Hurricanes that occur outside the six-month timeframe are known as subtropical hurricanes.

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Do large hurricanes cause the most damage?

NOAA says there is very little association between the physical size of hurricanes and their intensity. Factors like maximum sustained winds and the reach of hurricane force winds determine the intensity of a hurricane regardless of its size. A smaller but stronger storm can cause more damage than a bigger but weaker storm.

The categories of the hurricanes allow us to understand their intensity. A category 1 hurricane of the same size as a category 5 will not cause the same damage. The category 5 will be much stronger and intense.

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When is the last time a Category 5 hurricane hit the United States?

A category 5 hurricane has sustained winds of 156 mph or higher and can cause catastrophic damage.

The last time a category 5 hit the U.S. was in 2018 when Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle with sustained winds of 160 mph, barely over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's threshold for a category 5. According to NOAA, the hurricane was "directly responsible for 16 deaths and about $25 billion in damage in the United States."

Initially, Michael was determined as a category 4 with real-time data but after a post-storm analysis, it was upgraded to a category 5.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: When is hurricane season and can they occur outside it?