The response to the storm has been complicated by the covid-19 pandemic. Residents were forced to decide whether to evacuate their homes and move into packed shelters where it’s hard to effectively social distance. With no end in site, the pandemic will continue to pose additional risks throughout hurricane season, which runs through November. Cristobal is far from the most severe storm expected to threaten the Atlantic basin this season.


A recently released forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects up to 19 named storms, including three to six major hurricanes. Those major storms—ranked Category 3 or higher—are big worries when it comes to property damage and loss of life. A separate recent study shows that the climate crisis is making hurricanes stronger. Sea level rise is also contributing to higher storm surge, adding another layer of concern when hurricanes make landfall.