Trying to evacuate your home before a hurricane hits is hard enough. Now imagine doing it against the backdrop of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic.
Hurricane season is two months away. And the latest forecast for the 2020 hurricane season shows that the Atlantic is likely to see an above-average number of hurricanes. Meanwhile, the coronavirus doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon, which could unleash a nightmare scenario.
Colorado State University released its annual hurricane season forecast Thursday, and the findings are pretty unnerving during these times of economic and physical uncertainty. Living in a world struck by a highly contagious virus is hard enough. But adding devastating hurricanes to the mix? That’s another level of heartbreak.
The scientists estimate that this season will see about eight hurricanes. Four of them being at least a Category 3, the threshold for major hurricanes. That’s above the average of about six hurricanes, of which two become major hurricanes in a given season. The analysis also found a 69 percent chance that at least one major hurricane could make landfall in the U.S. The reasons for the active forecast are the warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic, which are associated with lower-than-normal pressure. Those are two key ingredients for an active hurricane season. Climate change is set to make these seasons all the more active due to warmer waters and increased moisture in the atmosphere.
“We need to try to get ourselves out of these peaks of the covid curve so that they are not aligning with hurricane season as much as we can.”
On their own, these are pretty frightening projections. But the novel coronavirus situation makes the situation that much more worrisome. Hospitalizations due to covid-19 are expected to extend well into summertime for southern states such as Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina, all places that are no strangers to hurricanes. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered residents to stay home only this week.
Many parks and stores remain closed in Louisiana where the number of cases is already more than 9,000. However, the nation needs a coordinated response with all officials on board if the U.S. wants to avoid an ultra-disastrous hurricane season, Samantha Montano, an assistant professor of emergency management and disaster science at the University of Nebraska Omaha, told Earther.