Hurricane season (Jun 1, 2021 – Nov 30, 2021) is just three weeks away, and while forecasts suggest that 2021 may not be the record breaking year that 2020 was, this season is still expected to bring above average and potentially devastating activity to hurricane-prone areas in the U.S. According to The Weather Channel’s leading hurricane expert, Dr. Rick Knabb, it is well within the realm of possibility that we could have more than one major hurricane come ashore this year, even if the year is not quite as busy overall:
“Don’t let the fact that this year might not be as busy as last year overall make you think we get the year off from a bad hurricane season,” says Knabb. “People should prepare for hurricane season regardless of what early forecasts suggest. Even below-average seasons in the past have produced historic hurricanes that have caused massive devastation. The more we prepare far in advance, the safer we will all be.”
To that end, The Weather Channel’s full team of meteorologists has pulled together the following recommendations, taking into account storms and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, for the public to keep in mind as we approach the 2021 hurricane season:
1. Continue to take COVID-19 precautions into account when planning for storms:
While most of the country is slowly lifting stay-at-home orders, COVID-19 precautions are still needed, especially for early-season storms. Friends and families should work together on evacuation plans for people in hurricane-prone areas that involve sheltering in one another’s homes outside of evacuation zones, so they are safe from the storm. This also lessens large crowds at shelters, limiting the spread of the virus, and reducing the chance of these people needing help during a time when responders and healthcare workers are already overwhelmed.
Older citizens have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and are often at greater risk when storms hit. Loved ones should devise a plan for elderly friends and family to ensure access to the food, medicine, supplies, and care they need during any hurricane evacuation, which will be critical for their health and safety and mitigate exposure to coronavirus.
2. Do everything possible now to strengthen your home:
Simple and inexpensive changes can reduce the chance of costly damages to your home. Some examples include: repairing loose or missing roof shingles; trim trees and remove anything that could potentially turn into flying debris; clear gutters and soffits; have your garage door reinforced; and have your outdoor AC units elevated to avoid floods.
3. Be smart when making travel plans:
If traveling to or from an area prone to hurricanes, it’s best to prepare for any potential travel delays and have a plan of action ready to go. Before departing, identify a neighbor, friend or family member to help remove patio furniture, secure loose items around your home, and look after pets in the event your area is affected by severe weather during your time of travel. Travellers should also be sure to pack sufficient prescription and nonprescription medications they may need should your return schedule be delayed, and portable batteries should there be a loss in power.
As always with travelling during hurricane season, check local weather forecasts and any state or local government resources for both storm preparedness and COVID-19 protocols.
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