National Hurricane Center prepping for 2020 season amid COVID-19

This story is part of our 2020 hurricane special Storm Ready 2020: Preparing in a Pandemic
COVID-19 has been impacting all areas of life, and hurricane season is here amid a pandemic.

This hurricane season is expected to be above average so it could get busy at the national hurricane center in Miami. But with so many places working on limited crews because of social distancing, some wonder if this will impact the number of forecasters eyeing the tropics.

Ken Graham -- director of the national hurricane center -- says they plan on staying fully staffed while following COVID-19 precautions.

The NHC is also working closely with emergency managers across the country. They decide when to tell people to evacuate, and social distancing could force them to make that call earlier.

Another concern this year is the major drop in commercial flights because of the virus. Many planes collect weather data used in forecast models and that information has decreased drastically -- raising the question of whether this could affect the accuracy of forecasts for hurricane season.

But Graham says other measuring sources like satellites, radar, and weather balloons should make up the difference.

Hurricane Hunters provide crucial data as well. Right now, there are no plans to limit the number of crews or flights this season so we can still count on getting information from the heart of tropical storms.
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