But, with memories of overblown predictions for Hurricane Irene's impact on the New York City area last year, some people still aren't taking the weather that seriously.
Julie Demuth is a social scientist who studies risk communication and weather at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
She says forecasters and officials are not only trying to get better at predicting weather, but also human behavior, and people often rely on their past experiences to make judgments: "So I think that's something we are seeing here in this case where people did experience Irene. Maybe it wasn't as bad as they anticipated and now they're trying to apply that to this particular case."
Demuth says one of the biggest lessons social scientists learned during Hurricane Katrina is that people are reluctant to leave pets behind. Local agencies and humane shelters have since worked on communicating with people about where to leave pets when evacuating and some shelters are now pet-friendly.