Ahead of the arrival of tropical storm Fred, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tweeted that residents should make sure they’re prepared. The storm, which was officially classified as a tropical storm on Tuesday, is expected to bring heavy rain and wind to Florida by late Friday or early Saturday.
“PTC #6 developed into Tropical Storm #Fred overnight. This is the sixth named storm of the season & could potentially impact Florida this weekend,” the governor tweeted. “While it’s too soon to determine exact impacts, Floridians should review their disaster plans & follow @FLSERT for updates.”
The National Hurricane Center said Thursday that people in some parts of Florida could potentially see flooding.
“Through Monday, 3 to 5 inches of rain is anticipated across the Keys and southern Florida Peninsula, with isolated maximum totals of 8 inches. Heavy rainfall could lead to areal, urban, and small stream flooding, along with possible rapid river rises,” the statement reads.
Unique risks during pandemic
Experts have pointed out that hurricane season brings unique risks when paired with a pandemic, mainly due to the fact that resources are already limited.
Last June, researchers from the University of Central Florida released the results of a study focused on exploring the potential impact that hurricane season could have on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 crisis will very likely increase the impacts associated with the climate extreme events that will inevitably occur somewhere across the globe over the next weeks or months or already have occurred,” said researcher Thomas Wahl. “For example, shelters cannot operate at full capacity, health care systems are already under pressure, and emergency funds are depleted.”
How to prepare
The CDC has also acknowledged that hurricane season preparations will be different during a pandemic. On its website, the agency offers the following tips for preparing for adverse weather during a pandemic:
Allow extra time to prepare. Give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medicine supplies. The agency noted that home delivery is the safest choice for buying disaster supplies, but that may not be an option for everyone. If in-person shopping is your only choice, take steps to protect your and others’ health when running essential errands.
Limit in-person pharmacy visits. Protect yourself and others when filling prescriptions by limiting in-person visits to the pharmacy. Sign up for mail order delivery or call in your prescription ahead of time and use drive-through windows or curbside pickup, if available.
Stay up-to-date. Pay attention to local guidance about updated plans for evacuations and shelters, including shelters for your pets.
Continue social distancing. When you check on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow physical distancing recommendations (staying at least 6 feet from others) and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.
Get vaccinated. The CDC recommends getting a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can in order to avoid becoming sick or severely ill with COVID-19, as well as to help protect those around you.