Hurricanes are severe tropical storms that form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. They collect heat and energy through contact with warm ocean waters and then move toward land. Evaporation from the ocean water increases their power. Hurricanes rotate in a counter-clockwise direction around an “eye,” which is the center of the hurricane.

Hurricanes have winds at least 74 miles per hour. When hurricanes come onto land, their heavy rain, strong winds, and large waves can damage buildings, trees, and cars. Storm surge is when rising water moves inland, or away from the coastline. It’s very dangerous. 

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic will be ongoing as hurricane season and other natural disasters, such as flooding, earthquakes, and wildfires, continue to occur throughout the year. Remember to follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your state and local authorities to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. 

Words to Know

Hurricanes are most common between June and November. Any U.S. coast by the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean can get hit and you can feel the effects more than 100 miles inland. People who live on the coast may experience extreme winds and flooding from rain and storm surge. People who live inland are at risk for wind, thunderstorms, and flooding.

Living through environmental disasters, like a hurricane, can be more complicated when we are also experiencing a pandemic like COVID-19. It is important to be prepared and to understand how COVID-19 might affect you and your family. 

COVID-19 may affect different people in different ways. By practicing good health habits, like washing your hands and social distancing, you can lower your chances of getting sick, both from COVID-19 and in general. 


  • Build an emergency kit.
  • Make a family communications plan. Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power or are separated.
  • Help your parents bring in outdoor items like potted plants, patio furniture, decorations, and garbage cans. They can fly away in strong winds!


  • Don’t open the refrigerator or freezer. In case you lose power, you want the cold air to stay in so food will last longer!
  • Stay away from windows and glass doors. They could break and hurt you.
  • If you did not evacuate, stay inside a closet, hallway, or a room without windows.
  • If you must evacuate, ask your parent or guardian to bring supplies that can help you protect yourself and your family from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, cleaning products, and two masks for each member of the family who can wear one. Children under 2 years old, people who have trouble breathing, and people who cannot remove mask on their own should not wear them.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes, especially with unwashed hands.
  • Listen to your parents or safety authorities for important instructions.


  • If you and your family must stay at a shelter or public facility, take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Maintain a distance of at least six feet, or about two adult arm lengths, between you and people who are not part of your household. Don’t get into crowds or groups.
  • Wear a mask while at the shelter. Don’t wear a mask if you have trouble breathing. Babies and kids under the age of 2 shouldn’t wear them either. If you can, wash your mask regularly. 
  • Don’t go near any wires that are loose or dangling. They could electrocute you!
  • Tell your parents if you smell gas.
  • Text, don’t talk. Unless there’s a life-threatening situation, send a text so that you don’t tie up phone lines needed by emergency workers. Plus, texting may work even if cell service is down.
  • Know that it’s normal to feel anxious or stressed out. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Take care of your body and talk with your parents or other trusted adults if you are feeling upset.

    Staying Healthy

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes! If you are not wearing a mask, use a tissue or cough or sneeze into your elbow. If you do use a tissue, throw it in the trash right away. 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while you wash your hands. Make sure to wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, using the bathroom, and eating or making food. 
  • If you can’t find soap and water to wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. 
  • Stay away from people who are coughing, sneezing, or sick.
  • Remind your parents to clean surfaces that people touch frequently, like desks, doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls.
  • Tell your parents if you feel sick.

Did you know?

Hurricanes can also affect areas greater than 100 miles away from the coastline. People who live inland are also at risk for wind, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flooding.

Helpful Links

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Last Updated: 02/18/2021