Pandemic supply shortages could hinder hurricane season preparations

Published: May. 3, 2020 at 4:07 PM EDT
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Sunday marked the start of Hurricane Preparedness Week in North Carolina, but it's likely to be a hurricane season unlike any other as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

With a number of supplies already in high demand, potential storms could make preparations that much more difficult.

"I'm kind of nervous. I'm not scared," said Greenville resident Alissa House. "You can barely find bread, tissue, canned goods. Things that we usually get."

And because essential items are in such short supply, Eastern Carolinians like House are now facing a dilemma on how to prepare.

"Right now, we're just trying to save what we have so far. We just keep adding little bit, by little bit; hoping that it will just hold out," House explains.

Now is usually the time to stock up on supplies for emergency preparedness kits, but residents are left wondering how to do that when stores are short of items like tissue and cleaning supplies?

"Make sure that you're looking to try to pick up those items as you can," says Pitt County Emergency Management Director Randy Gentry. "Online would be a good source. Especially as suppliers get things in. And also, at the same time, it allows you to do your social distancing."

Gentry says start making a supply kit with batteries, non-perishable items, water, and don't forget your prescriptions.

"Anytime that they start talking about an impending storm, you want to make sure you have the necessary medications," says Gentry.

Because it's better to start preparing with what you can, than for it to be too late.

"You want to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it," House says.

Gentry also says their department is looking into non-congregate sheltering if the east were to need to shelter and separate people with the virus.