Officials fear disaster fatigue amid COVID-19 pandemic, busy Atlantic hurricane season

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Monday, September 21, 2020
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Along parts of the Gulf coast, first responders and families are feeling drained from Hurricanes Sally, Laura and others even though there's more rain on the way and more trouble brewing in the tropics with Tropical Storm beta.

BILOXI, Miss. -- Along parts of the Gulf coast, first responders and families are feeling drained from this year's hurricane season even though there's more rain on the way and more trouble brewing in the tropics.

It's been a tough year to make and communicate hurricane forecasts with storm tracks constantly shifting, not to mention public health concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

"We worry about hurricane fatigue. We worry about people becoming frustrated," Vincent Creel, the city of Biloxi's public affairs manager, told AccuWeather. "'I'm not going to evacuate, I'm not going to worry about it' -- that's a huge danger we always worry about."

Creel and other officials say it's better to overprepare than to ignore the warnings. Mississippi missed out on the worst from Hurricane Sally, but towns in Alabama and Florida took a direct hit.

"I've been telling everybody that Sally felt right at home in our 2020," one resident said. Another woman added that she "wasn't prepared for this one because I didn't think it was going to do all this."

Boats, homes and RVs were destroyed in the latest storm to make landfall during this record-breaking season. The focus now is on Tropical Storm Beta, which is already causing trouble along the Texas coastline. Beta could also bring rain to southwest Louisiana, a region slowly recovering from Hurricane Laura just weeks ago.