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How to Prepare For Hurricane Season During the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic

According to CNN, the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 and covers the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. With sustained winds of 74mph or higher, hurricanes can cause severe damage to properties, communities, and human life. On top of the typical dangers of storms, this year, individuals also have to consider the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 coronavirus adds a new layer of worry to hurricane season, especially since experts predict 2020 to bring multiple storm surges to the Atlantic coast. Social distancing has never been a factor in prior emergency plans, especially when it comes to emergency evacuations and community shelters.

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NPR says, “There's now a chance for one disaster to layer upon another. Many lives could be lost: first, from powerful winds, storm surges, and flooding, and then through the spread of the coronavirus in cramped public shelters following mass evacuations. Evacuees might pass the virus to friends and relatives who take them in, or get infected themselves in those new surroundings.”

How to Prepare for a Hurricane During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Before making plans to shelter-in-place or evacuate, it’s essential to know the difference between a hurricane watch and warning. The National Hurricane Center defines these terms as:

  • A hurricane watch indicates the possibility that a region could experience hurricane conditions within 48 hours.

  • A hurricane warning indicates that sustained winds of at least 74 mph are expected within 36 hours.