The Federal Emergency Management Agency is working on plans to deal with a hurricane in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor spoke with Axios about a document titled "COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season" that he is working on.
"We're doing a lot of things that are not necessarily in any playbook that has existed," Gaynor said. "In some cases, we write the playbook as we go."
The playbook for managing a hurricane before and after it makes landfall in the United States has changed because of COVID-19. With many states still on lockdown and guidelines for staying six feet apart still in place, the Atlantic hurricane season — which starts June 1 and runs through November — will be more challenging.
One example Gaynor provided is if a hospital needs to be evacuated in the middle of a hurricane zone.
"If we have to evacuate a hospital, that hospital typically would just evacuate the patients," Gaynor said. "But now we've got to make sure they evacuate the patients, the medical equipment like ventilators, pharmaceuticals that allow ventilators to be used on patients in ICUs. All those things now make it more difficult, there's no doubt about it."
One expert predicted the upcoming hurricane season will include 18 named storms, nine hurricanes, and three hurricanes that are least a category 3. According to The Weather Channel, the annual average is 13 named storms and seven hurricanes.
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