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article imageAtlantic Hurricane season will clash with coronavirus pandemic

By Karen Graham     Jun 1, 2020 in Environment
The coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every aspect of American life. Responding to hurricanes is no exception. Forecasts are calling for as many as 19 named storms forming, of which as many as 10 will be hurricanes.
There are many concerns when looking at the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and the possibility of having a more active hurricane season, according to Astrid Caldas, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, reports USA Today.
"The intersection of the pandemic with hurricane season is unprecedented and unfortunate, as it will play out as FEMA’s resources and staff are stretched thin with the pandemic response and a series of disasters since 2017, which will make it harder for the agency to rise to the challenge of simultaneously occurring disasters," Caldas says.
Not only does the possibility of more storms than usual worry scientists, but global warming is making hurricanes stronger, according to a study.
This September 1  2005 file photo shows a US soldier tending to a baby as people wait to leave the S...
This September 1, 2005 file photo shows a US soldier tending to a baby as people wait to leave the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
James Nielsen, AFP/File
"Our results show that these storms have become stronger on global and regional levels, which is consistent with expectations of how hurricanes respond to a warming world," said study lead author James Kossin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Rachel Cleetus, also with the Union of Concerned Scientists, notes that the nation's ability to keep people safe is going to be "severely tested." Keep in mind that states and cities are already dealing with falling tax revenues, and more so now with the violent protests over the death of a Black American in police custody.
File photo: Michele posted this image on Twitter with a very short comment:  There are no more words...
File photo: Michele posted this image on Twitter with a very short comment: "There are no more words." This speaks eloquently for many people in our Southeastern states facing these fires.
NC Forest Service
Not only will FEMA resources be stretched to the limits, but there is also concern about the resources of relief groups across the country. "Other disasters like ongoing Midwest flooding and the upcoming wildfire season also put pressure on the agency’s resources," Cleetus said.
FEMA insists it is prepared for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season. "While FEMA continues to lead federal operations during the whole-of-America COVID-19 response, we continue to take deliberate and proactive steps to respond to and recover from future disasters, such as hurricanes, while responding to COVID-19. FEMA has already responded to severe weather during this pandemic, with devastating tornadoes in the southeast, while also preparing for the start of the 2020 hurricane season."
A hurricane like Harvey or Maria would be a catastrophic event during the COVID-19 crisis. And even if the virus dies down, first responder, economic and emergency management communities will continue to be stretched thin with scarce resources, according to Forbes.
More about Hurricane season, covid19 pandemic, Fema, Resources, simultaneous disasters
 
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