June 1 marks the beginning of hurricane season, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration already is predicting a higher-than-average active season.
The COVID-19 pandemic also is affecting how, and when, people should start preparing.
Officials are preparing for above-average hurricane activity this year.
“We’ve already had two named storms this year, and we’re monitoring the Bay of Campeche for potentially a third one developing, maybe later this weekend,” said National Weather Service Morning coordination meteorologist Melissa Huffman.
A “normal” hurricane season usually has 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes, and three of those become major hurricanes reaching strengths of Category 3 or more, according to Huffman.
Although the weather is an unpredictable phenomenon, she said now is the time to prepare for what could lie ahead.
“Make sure that once you figure out what you need to get your family for the season, in terms of supplies, make sure you add a little bit of that to your grocery shopping every week to make sure that you are stocking up as soon as you can,” said Huffman.
If you know there’s a storm coming, get to the pharmacy and fill any prescriptions you might need in the long run.
“Anything from having up to seven days worth of food for each family member in your home, as well as water,” she said. “You’ll want one gallon of water per person, per day.”
Also, put any documents such as birth certificates, insurance policies, car titles and any others important information in a waterproof lockbox.
This year, being prepared will be especially important as protocol, and how we respond to a weather emergency, can change due to COVID-19.
“Make sure you know who to get information from because they’ll be providing the latest information in case an evacuation is ordered, or in case you have to shelter in place,” Huffman said. “They’ll be able to give you the latest guidance on how to stay safe both during the hurricane and within the pandemic.”
The Centers for Disease Control has set new guidelines for hurricane preparedness during the pandemic.
They include preparing a ‘go-kit’ with personal items such as hand sanitizer, a bar of soap, and cloth face coverings for each person in your family.