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Experts advise earlier hurricane season prep during COVID-19 pandemic

Hurricane seasons begins June 1 and lasts until November 30, 2021.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Hurricane season is less than a month away, but Hampton Roads experts advise early prep, especially because of the pandemic. 

“Hurricanes are no joke,” said Danielle Progen, Virginia Beach Emergency Management Coordinator. “It’s about making your plan ahead of time.” 

Hurricane season begins June 1 and lasts until November 30. Emergency management officials expect the upcoming storm season to be very active, and the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way experts’ recommendations for preparation. 

Due to the pandemic, Progen said an early start is even more important in staying safe. She recommends people check insurance documents and make sure flood coverage is up to date. In cases, it takes up to 30 days for policies to take effect, she said.

“Build your emergency kit,” she said. “Prepare your home and know to stay informed if something does happen.”

She recommends you prepare up to three days of non-perishable food, water, medical supplies and plan for people and pets that might need additional assistance. The first aid kit should also include any prescription or over-the-counter medications.

“In this pandemic environment, you want to have extra hand sanitizer on hand, also extra face masks and hand sanitizing wipes,” she said. 

But there are extra things to think about because of the pandemic.

“It’s even more important to make the plan ahead of time because of the pandemic,” she said. 

On top of having an evacuation plan, Progen advises you to know if your emergency contacts are at risk of COVID-19 if you stay with them. Virginia Beach has also had to alter its shelter plans. 

“We ensure that we have enough social distancing and are enforcing masks policies if individuals have to shelter at our shelters in the city,” she said.

It’s also important to know what hurricane evacuation zone you live in, which can help you stay alert when a storm comes.

If you’re in Hampton Roads, you can check at KNOWYOURZONEVA.org