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May 29, 2020
This is most important hurricane season your family has ever prepared for. Let that sink in for a minute.
Whether you are new to the Tampa Bay area or a native, local emergency managers are reminding all residents it is absolutely vital that every family has a fully stocked disaster kit and hurricane plan due to the added threat of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
When it comes to evacuating, the general rule of thumb is tens of miles not hundreds of miles.
Hillsborough County: HillsboroughCounty.org
Sign up for HCFL Alert emergency alerts: Text StaySafe to 888-777
Pasco County: Pascocountyfl.net
Be sure to sign up for Alert Pasco while visiting the site.
Pinellas County: PinellasCounty.org/emergency
You can sign up for Alert Pinellas on this site too to stay connected during emergencies.
Find a complete list of what you’ll need in your disaster kit at Ready.gov
GRANT GILMORE, MORNING METEOROLOGIST AT 10 TAMPA BAY
“There’s a lot that’s different about our world now because of the coronavirus. As we’ve learned, there’s a lot that is out of our control, but taking steps to plan and prepare our families for a potential storm is something we can all take charge of.”
BOBBY DESKINS, CHIEF METEOROLOGIST AT 10 TAMPA BAY
Hurricane season is upon us once again, and most signs are pointing to a busier-than-normal season! It’s hard to believe that the season is already here, but then again, we have been living in a time warp thanks to our COVID-19 quarantine. For me, the silver lining in all of this has been the time that I have been able to spend with my family. Turns out time is more precious than toilet paper—but just barely! Homeschooling has been interesting. I’ve spent a lot of time chaperoning recess for my kids, but there has also been a little bit of learning in our household as well.
If you have any homeschooling left in you, now would be a good time to teach your kids the basics about severe weather. You don’t have to go into the details, but it may help your child to have a little knowledge of severe weather to lower any fears they may have. I’ve talked to my kids about hurricanes, tornadoes, what to do during tornado warnings and how we prepare for storms. My kids are 9 and 7 so they are old hats at this since Hurricane Irma, but a refresher course can’t hurt. As they grow, their understanding of the weather changes and so will their questions.
One of the things we talked about was getting prepared and getting our hurricane kit together. With COVID-19 in the mix, your plans may change a bit. For instance, if you need to evacuate during a storm, do you want to go to a crowded shelter? City governments are doing what they can to come up with a plan that utilizes more shelters thus lowering the density in each, but would you rather evacuate to a friend or family member’s house? Make that plan now. It would likely be more comfortable, but if COVID-19 is prevalent, can you shelter with family or friends who are especially sensitive to the virus? Have an idea of where you would go, who will be with you and what their health concerns are. These are things to consider when making your PLAN.
Putting your KIT together will also require a few changes. You guessed it, more Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer! I always suggest Lysol wipes for cleanup, but this year you will want to add another tub or two. Don’t forget about that first-aid kit. Most don’t include a thermometer, but you may want to have one in case someone isn’t feeling well. Last, but not least, throw in a few rolls of toilet paper. Not that you would need more during a hurricane, but because who knew it would be such a hot commodity during COVID-19?
Originally published in Tampa Bay Parenting’s June 2020 Issue.