Virus Hurts North Carolina Counties’ Hurricane Readiness

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As hurricane season starts Monday, most of North Carolina’s coastal counties are grappling with shortfalls or concerns about equipment and resources as they balance the dual threat of tropical weather and the COVID-19 pandemic. All 20 counties in the state’s coastal management zone told The Associated Press that COVID-19 is factoring into hurricane preparations. Five of those — Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Hyde and Washington — said overall plans hadn’t changed, but they’re ready to adjust to the virus if needed. Fifteen counties acknowledged shortfalls or concerns about supplies, with protective gear being the most common worry during a national shortage. However, three others — Dare, New Hanover and Pender — say they have sufficient resources for hurricane season. The pandemic increases the stakes for a state hit hard in recent years by hurricanes Florence and Matthew. And forecasters predict a busy hurricane season beginning Monday, with two named storms already affecting North Carolina