MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With a tropical storm already slamming into the Louisiana coastline, we’re gearing up for a busy hurricane season. While the season began just a week ago, we’re already on the third named storm.
The acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, along with Gov. Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, toured the National Hurricane Center on Monday.
“The work being done at the National Hurricane Center is critical in aiding the department’s efforts to protect our homeland,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf.
The secretary said the federal government already has $80 million in relief funds ready and that people and supplies in place.
“The department has stockpiled supplies at eight distribution centers in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Guam, which include everything from bottled water to baby formula,” he said. “FEMA has teams that are focused on urban search and rescue, communications and logistic support positioned around the country.”
DeSantis said the state is ready too and that the coronavirus pandemic makes preparing for a busy hurricane season quite different than in years past.
“Very early on the division created a PPE reserve for hurricane season and right now the division has more than 10 million masks that can be handed out to shelters and be used by people working at shelters. The division also secured a long term deal with Honeywell for 12 million N95 masks,” DeSantis said.
Locally, Gimenez said there are 81 shelters available to house more than 112,000 people if necessary — and that’s because COVID-19 would force people to be more spread out.
“This year we have expanded our capacity at evacuation centers to give people more space. We’re doubling out space to about 40 square feet per person, up from about 20 square feet per person due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gimenez said.
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And for people staying in shelters, they’ll need to still adhere to COVID precautions.
“Everyone will receive a kit when they arrive at these centers, including masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, and they’ll also be screened for any symptoms,” Gimenez said.
Here are some hurricane season resources: