‘We’re in a potential disaster inside of a current disaster’: Texas officials prepare for hurricane season amid COVID-19


AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Tropical Storm Hanna will be making landfall in Texas this weekend, forcing state officials to juggle preparing for a weather emergency, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Remember… we’re in a potential disaster inside of a current disaster,” Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales said during a news conference Friday.

The Texas General Land Office said COVID-19 safety protocols make sheltering difficult, especially social distancing.

“Our local entities are looking at where they can shelter folks, but it is very difficult, because you are talking about trying to maintain social distance in a situation that is not intended for social distancing,” GLO Communications Director for the Community Development and Revitalization Program explained.

Eck said people should reach out to family and friends for any extra available spaces to shelter in before heading to a storm shelter. She also is reminding all Texans to update their go-bags this year, which this year includes more than just a flashlight, batteries and important documents.

“We’re thinking about masks and gloves. We’re thinking about taking hand sanitizer with you and putting additional ones in there, but also thinking about it having to go to congregate sheltering or having to go somewhere else,” Eck said.

While Tropical Storm Hanna is projected to hit the southern part of the state, there’s still plenty of time left in what’s been the most active hurricane season to date.

“If you think about it, Hurricane Harvey was the same letter as Hanna’s and Hurricane Harvey hit in August, late August the 24th. So we have already had a very active hurricane season. Now we haven’t had a major storm yet, but we do predict three to six major storms this year and any one of those could hit Texas,” Eck said.

That means now is the best time to prepare.

Another reminder, Eck said, is that flood insurance generally takes a full 30 days to process after purchasing.

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