WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how our coastal counties are preparing for the potential of a hurricane.
New Hanover County Emergency Management Director Steven Still says they have been getting ready for months.
“We know one of our greatest vulnerabilities is being susceptible to coastal storms,” said Still. “So, it’s something that we always have in the forefront of our minds. We knew COVID it was going to be around long enough to have an impact during storm season. It was as early as March that we started having these conversations.”
Because of COVID-19 counties won’t be able to shelter as many people.
“If we were looking at hurricane Florence at the peak we had more than 1200 people in our shelters,” said Still. “This year we’re looking in the range of 200 people if we follow the CDC and Red Cross guidelines.”
Officials say that going to a shelter should be a last resort, and that it’s time now to figure a plan of where you can go.
“The best option is to have a plan ahead of time,” said Edward Conrow Brunswick County Emergency Services Director. “And that plan should have finding someplace else to go. If it’s a family member friend or a hotel in land. If you have the ability to do that is your best option.”