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Hurricane preps require some extra planning during a pandemic

What extra items do you need for your hurricane kit this year?

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Though Hurricane Season starts in June, local and state leaders suggest the public to start preparing early, especially with a pandemic going on.

Get your hurricane kits ready now, said Linda Stoughton, the director of St. Johns County's Emergency Operations Department. 

Some food items, such as canned goods have been rationed at stores during the pandemic. You can only buy so many at once. So start stocking up earlier rather than later, she said.

Also, the CDC recommends adding extra items to your hurricane kit, such as hand sanitizer, soap and two cloth face masks per person.

"Cloth, right," Stoughton said. "With the disposable ones, you’re just going to have to throw them away. You’d need to have more of them per person. With the cloth, you can wash them out and dry them and reuse them."

You still need to know your evacuation zone because authorities may still call for evacuations. That deadly storm surge doesn’t care if there’s a pandemic going on, and you’ll want to get out the water’s way, she said.

"We always recommend you stay with family or friends or in a hotel if you have to go to a shelter," Stoughton said. 

But if that’s not possible, shelters will still open. They will have more space for social distancing.

"In a traditional shelter, we use a 20 square foot per person," Stoughton said. "And we are going to expand that to 60 square foot per person."

Also more shelters may be opened and more space inside the shelters could be used.

"We’re also looking at PPE in the shelters and increased sanitation," she said.