Hurricane Florence, a Category Four hurricane, is currently bearing down on the east coast of the United States. As families brace for the storm, the Weather Channel and Sesame Workshop have paired up to help parents talk to their kids about how to prepare.
Elmo joined Weather Channel anchor Stephanie Abrams to talk about what hurricanes are, why they’re so scary, how to make a disaster kit, and who to turn to for help in an emergency. The video is part of Sesame Workshop’s “Sesame Street in Communities” initiative, which aims to help parents and their kids deal with difficult topics, from building healthy habits to dealing with divorce.
Florence is projected to make landfall between northern South Carolina and North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Thursday, according to the Weather Channel. Flash flooding is projected, and more than 1.5 million people have been ordered to evacuate coastal areas.
The video on Florence is the first in a series on disaster preparedness, which will cover tornados, floods, thunderstorms, blizzards, and more, and will air throughout the next few months. Nora Zimmet, a senior vice president at The Weather Channel, says that events like Hurricane Florence are a reminder of the need “to talk to our children about how to stay safe.”
Sesame Street also offers resources to help children deal with the aftermath of a hurricane. Studies have shown that the toxic stress and emotional upheaval brought on by extreme weather events can have an especially negative impact on children (pdf), and that those effects are often long lasting. In the aftermath of other weather-related disasters like Hurricane Harvey, relief organizations have focused their efforts on helping kids and families recover emotionally from the trauma of the storm, but also prepare them for the next difficult experiences that may come their way. Now, Sesame Street hopes it can do the same.