The COVID-19 pandemic has been worrisome enough for residents along the Gulf Coast and the rest of the nation. However, the nation's heartland doesn't have to be concerned with Mother Nature's summertime sucker punch, the hurricane or tropical storm. Here in the Gulf South, it's a part of our reality.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA is tasked with hurricane preparation and recovery plans. Those plans now have to include special provisions for dealing with a potential storm during a bona fide pandemic.

Already the agency is discussing how to provide more spacing in shelters should people need to evacuate. There are also ongoing talks about what kind of COVID-19 screenings will be performed for those needing to find shelter from a storm.

Among the solutions being discussed are the utilization of more digital communications and less face to face contact with evacuees. That would mean using social media, smartphone apps, and other technology to disseminate information from a distance.

FEMA managers are suggesting that we all add hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes to our hurricane kits. They also suggest that you take time now to find family or friends that might allow you to shelter at their place instead of a FEMA shelter. It's probably better to stay with folks you know versus a gymnasium full of strangers, right?

Currently, the tropical Atlantic basin is quiet. However, one long-range forecast does call for a potential tropical threat affecting the northern Gulf coast on or about July 23rd. Let's hope that forecast is not accurate and that we can simply deal with the pandemic and not a pandemic during a hurricane.

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