2020 Hurricane Season in the age of COVID-19



Greetings!


My name is Tamazha and I am the Store Manager at Fresh Future Farm in North Charleston, SC. I graduated in May of 2019 from The College of Charleston with my Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Health. Today, we will discuss hurricane preparation in the age of COVID-19 for South Carolinians. If you aren’t a resident of South Carolina, a lot of this information will still apply to you. You should be able to find resources similar to the ones I provide for your state.


Please note: This content was created on July 24 prior to the Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaias. I have added information that has been published since then in bold. 


As of June 1, the 2020 hurricane season has begun! If you live in a coastal community you are probably more than familiar with this. However, this year looks VERY different...we are now experiencing the 2020 hurricane season in the midst of a pandemic. COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we live and (used to) move in the world. Since our lifestyles have changed, it begs the question, how do we best prepare for the hurricane season ahead?


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that this hurricane season will be above-normal. An average season would consist of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes (3 of them being major hurricanes). This year, the administration predicts 13-19 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes (3-6 of them being major hurricanes). With that being said, there have already been 7 named storms (as of July 24, 2020). 


From NOAA on August 6: The 2020 season has been off to a record-setting start with 9 named storms to date. Historically, an average of only 2 storms are named by early August and the ninth storm is formed closer to October 4. NOAA’s updated predictions state that we can expect 19-25 named storms, 7-11 hurricanes (3-6 of them being major hurricanes).


So, how do we prepare for a hurricane the COVID-19 way? The first deciding factor is whether you are going to evacuate or shelter in place. Each of these options require deep planning so I encourage you to think about this in the context of your situation and make the decision from there. 


Evacuate 

  • Will you stay with loved ones or in a shelter?

  • Do you know your zone and evacuation route?

  • What is the risk of being exposed to COVID-19?

Shelter In Place 

  • Do you have the necessary supplies?

  • Are you able to fortify your home to decrease potential damage?

  • What is the risk of being exposed to COVID-19?



Ideally, you should be prepared for either scenario in the event you have no choice in the matter.


Once you have decided on a plan of action, it is time for the action! Begin to stock up on necessary supplies. DO NOT HOARD SUPPLIES! I understand that hoarding supplies can make you feel secure and in control of the situation, but you are not. Please be mindful of folks who may not have the means to stock up all at once and have to buy things last minute. 


Here is a short list of supplies I would encourage you to get. There will be more extensive lists in the resources section.

  • 3-7 day supply of shelf stable food, water, and PPE (personal protective equipment such as masks)

  • Specialty items for infants, elders, folks with disabilities, or folks who take certain prescribed medications

  • Flashlight

  • Fan

  • Radio

  • Important documentation (protect this with plastic)

  • Generator if you can access one


You should store these supplies together so that you can grab them quickly when you need to. You could have a designated spot in your home or place things in a tub or backpack (depending on your plan). 


Please be on the look out for our upcoming online learning opportunities! 

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Resources:

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P.O. Box 22194

Charleston, SC 29413

info@freshfuturefarm.org

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