An active 2020 hurricane season combined with coronavirus is likely to present unprecedented challenges for some coastal communities – what happens when a hurricane meets a pandemic?

Meteorologists have been warning for months that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is going to be severe, with estimates this year could produce as many as 19 named storms and 10 hurricanes. And based on early activity, there is little reason to doubt their predictions.

Even before the official start of the season on June 1, two named tropical storms had formed – Arthur, then Bertha, which made landfall near Charleston, South Carolina, on May 27.

What this means residents, businesses, and property owners from Texas to New England is that they need to be prepared for the worst.

In addition to the prospect of spending the next six months monitoring satellite images of cyclones forming over the Atlantic Ocean, they may also have to contend with the added challenge of preparing for and recovering from a catastrophic hurricane amid a global pandemic.

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In the event of a hurricane or a powerful storm, having necessary supplies on hand can be essential. Consider stocking up on important items, including the following:

Generators can provide hours of emergency reserve power in the event of a power outage. Be sure to prepare for safe, extended generator use.

  • If you do not already own a generator but are considering purchasing one, do not wait until severe weather approaches to purchase one. Hardware stores often experience a rush during hurricane season, and it’s better to be prepared ahead of a storm.
  • Run your generator regularly to ensure that it is in proper working condition. Some repair professionals recommend putting one-half gallon of gasoline into a generator each month and allowing the generator to run for at least 30 minutes. Plug in a lamp or other small appliance to make sure the generator is working as it should.
  • If the generator has an electric start, be sure to keep the battery charged.
  • In case the generator runs on diesel fuel, the fuel supply needs to be changed out at least once every 12 months. Improper care can result in condensation, which can cause major damage to the generator when it is switched on.
  • Like many other mechanical devices, generators require regular maintenance. Be sure to replace the oil, fuel, and air filters regularly.

Sump pumps can be a lifesaver when it comes to preventing basements from flooding during heavy rain.  To ensure that your sump pump functions properly when you need it most, follow these basic maintenance tips:

  • Make sure the pump is plugged in to a working ground fault circuit interrupter   (GFCI) outlet and the cord is not damaged in any way. Check on the pump periodically, and reset the GFCI breakers, if necessary.
  • Ensure that the sump pump is standing upright. When the pump is operating, vibrations can cause it to tilt or fall to one side, which can cause the pump to malfunction.
  • Check the pump every few months to make sure it starts automatically and drains properly by pouring a bucket of water into the sump pump pit. If the pump fails to start, be sure to have it serviced.
  • In the event of a power outage, make sure to connect to a generator with adequate power. If possible, connect the pump to the generator using high quality, construction-grade extension cord.