With hurricane season right around the corner, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) announced that this year's season is expected to be especially challenging. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, "The outlook predicts a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 30 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 10 percent chance of a below-normal season."
The NOAA forecasts that this upcoming season will host a range of 13 to 19 named storms and predicts that six to 10 of these have the potential to become full-blown hurricanes. Of these, three to six are prospective major hurricanes, meaning they are set to be within categories three, four, or five.
However, it remains too early to tell whether these storms will make landfall in Louisiana.
An article on NOLA.com reports that if these predictions are accurate, for the fifth straight year, the Atlantic will see above-average tropical activity—overcoming the previous four-year record set between 1998 and 2001.
FEMA recently released their agency's guide to handling this year's hurricane season in the face of COVID-19. It includes a suggestion that emergency managers limit evacuation orders "to reduce the number of people voluntarily evacuating from areas outside a declared evacuation area." This advice clashes with previous recommendations released by the organization in an effort to reduce further transmission of the virus via evacuation.
In a decision made by the Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security, evacuation protocols in New Orleans and across Louisiana will be expedited by up to 10 hours before the anticipated time of landfall. This is an additional precaution taken in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19 among those opting to utilize public evacuation programs, by allotting time for symptom examination of evacuees, implementing necessary social distancing on buses, and allowing for the dispersal of personal protective equipment.