U.S. Gulf Coast braces for tropical depression Cristobal

by Paul Garilao, ABS-CBN News

FLORIDA — For months, Florida residents — like the rest of the nation — have been ordered to stay at home for their safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But if evacuation orders are issued because of a hurricane, they are required to leave their homes and seek refuge to a safer place.

As hurricane season started on June 1, Floridians are bracing for tropical depression Cristobal — the third named storm this hurricane season — moving along the U.S. Gulf Coast by Sunday.

The National Hurricane Center said storm surge and tropical storm watches will likely be issued for parts of the Gulf Coast late Friday.

Community members and residents said that families should have a disaster kit whether they’re traveling to a hurricane-prone area or living there.

This kit should contain water, three days worth of food, batteries, flashlights, a first aid kit, cellphones with backup chargers, and critical medications.

Meanwhile, Pensacola resident Maryline Avila said Floridians should check the status of their hurricane and flood insurance.

“You need to look at what’s covered by your insurance. Even if you got cheap insurance if it doesn’t provide valuable coverage – it’s useless.”

Should there be an evacuation amid the pandemic, officials said public shelters should be the last resort, urging people to first seek shelter inland with friends or in hotels.

In public shelters, evacuees will be required to wear masks and have their temperatures checked before being allowed entry.

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