With climate change affecting the intensity and frequency of precipitation across the U.S., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is helping the American public get ready for hurricane season by highlighting National Hurricane Preparedness Week, May 9-15. The Pacific season officially starts May 15, the Atlantic season begins June 1, and both seasons end on November 30.
“The climate crisis is fueling more extreme weather events such as hurricanes,” said Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Planning and preparedness are extremely critical for Tribes and communities facing environmental justice concerns, which are disproportionately impacted by the impacts of climate change.”
There are several practical ways that communities, organizations, and families can prepare and plan for hurricanes. Many planning and preparation activities may be different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:
- With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, communities potentially affected by hurricanes should check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for additional or modified safety precautions.
- Be sure to update emergency plans and preparedness kit supplies due to COVID-19.
- Stay connected with community leaders and local government for tips on hurricane preparedness.
- Check EPA’s website on hurricane preparedness and recovery for information on:
- Drinking water
- Water and wastewater systems
- Planning for and managing disaster debris
- Chemical or fertilizer storage
- Renovation and rebuilding
When hurricanes strike, EPA is prepared to coordinate and implement a wide range of activities to protect human health and the environment. The agency plays a major role in preventing, preparing for, and responding to environmental emergencies and natural disasters such as hurricanes, oil spills, chemical, biological, radiological releases, and large-scale national emergencies.
EPA works with federal, state, local, and Tribal entities to provide response assistance when their capabilities and resources have been exhausted. The agency also has a role in working with communities on natural disaster recovery and resilience. Together, this work helps vulnerable populations address environmental justice concerns by decreasing environmental burdens, increasing environmental benefits, and working collaboratively to build healthy, sustainable communities.
Here are some additional resources for dealing with the upcoming hurricane season:
- EPA’s central hub for disaster and hurricane information for communities, individuals, and families
- EPA’s emergency response and hurricane response capabilities
- CDC’s hurricanes and COVID-19 guidance
- FEMA’s hurricane preparedness guidance