June first is the official start of hurricane season and once again it comes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Once again, how might ongoing COVID-19 concerns impact sheltering plans and evacuation orders?

Will it be another active season? We’ve got a look at what might influence that and protecting your pets. What every pet owner needs to know when putting together a hurricane plan.

It’s all below in our CBS4 Hurricane 2021: Preparing In A Pandemic.

THE FORECAST

The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season is predicted to be another above-average season.

Hurricane experts from Colorado State University are predicting 14 named storms, including 7 hurricanes.

Three of the hurricanes are forecast to become major storms of Category 3 to 5 with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

Last year there were 30 named storms, 14 hurricanes and 6 major hurricanes.

SHELTERS AND EVACUATIONS

In the event a threatening storm prompts evacuations, shelters and evacuation centers will open in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. But of course, the pandemic has forced emergency managers to revise the way evacuation centers and emergency operations centers will function.

CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana spoke to the emergency managers in both counties to find out what plans are in place to protect those who need to evacuate.

CLIMATE CONCERNS

Climate change creates an added concern for South Floridians, particularly during hurricane season, when it comes to storm surge. But new advances in storm surge forecasting have the potential to save lives. CBS4 Meteorologist Jennifer Correa explains.

 

NAME CHANGES

The 2020 hurricane season was not only the most active season on record, it was just the second time ever the list of pre-planned hurricane names was exhausted and names from the Greek alphabet had to be used. However, this year, Greek letters will no longer be used, instead there is a new supplemental list of names to be used, if necessary, in order to avoid confusion. And it will be alphabetical, unlike the Greek alphabet.

CBS4’s Lissette Gonzalez has more.

THE MAYORS

This is the second hurricane season where we are preparing in a pandemic, but Miami-Dade and Broward Counties have new mayors this year, and many will be looking to them to be the voice of calm in a storm.

CBS4’s Jim Berry spoke to Daniella Levine Cava and Steve Geller to get their thoughts on leading in these uncertain times.

FLORIDA EOC DIRECTOR KEVIN GUTHRIE

In early May, Kevin Guthrie was appointed as the new head of the Florida Division of Emergency Management making him responsible for coordinating the state’s response to COVID-19 while also getting ready for hurricane season.

Guthrie recently spoke to CBS4’s Jim DeFede about the challenges in meeting needs and expectations.

AN INTERVIEW WITH NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER DIRECTOR

What should you do after a hurricane hits to continue staying safe?

CBS4 Chief Meteorologist Craig Setzer spoke to Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham to get that answer.

PET CONCERNS

Your pets are members of your family. Don’t leave them out of your hurricane plans. Just as you would have a plan for protecting the life and safety of your spouse and your children, you need to have a plan in place to make sure your pets are safe should you have to leave your home.

CBS4’s Eliott Rodriguez has more information on creating a disaster plan for your pets.

A LOOK BACK AT THE UNPRECEDENTED 2020 SEASON

The 2020 hurricane season earned the title of the most active year for hurricanes on record.

There were a total of 30 named storms which breaks the record for the highest number of tropical and subtropical storms in a single year.

Florida was touched by four of the named storms, and only what had been Hurricane Eta made direct landfall in the state.

In fact, Eta technically twice made landfall, south of Islamorada in Monroe County on Nov.  9 and near Cedar Key in Levy County on Nov. 12. In each instance, Eta hit the state with tropical-storm force winds.

CBS4 Meteorologist Dave Warren has more on the historic and unprecedented 2020 season.

HURRICANE 2021: THINGS TO REMEMBER

With the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season underway, remember you can never be too prepared for a storm. From your home to your pets to your precious heirlooms, it’s better to get things ready now than wait until it’s too late and a storm is taking aim at the area.