Are You Ready for Hurricane Season?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a 45 percent chance of the hurricane season that begins June 1 being above normal, a 35 percent chance of a normal season and a 20 percent chance of a below normal season. An average season is 12 named storms, six hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

Hurricane season officially starts Thursday. Are you ready? Do you have enough water and non-perishable food to last three days to a week? Do you have a flashlight, batteries and radio?

Florida had a nice long run of 11 years without a hurricane making landfall. Our luck ran out last year when Hurricane Hermine hit the Panhandle in September and Hurricane Matthew swept across the east coast in October.

In the days and hours before the storms arrived stores sold out of batteries, water, propane and other storm necessities. Instead of waiting for a storm to threaten, save yourself time and money by preparing now.

The Florida Legislature approved a three-day “disaster preparedness” sales tax holiday June 2 through June 4, which Gov. Rick Scott signed into law May 25. Scott, who had proposed a nine-day disaster preparedness sales tax holiday, signed off on the shortened tax holiday. Items that will be tax-free during the disaster preparedness holiday include: reusable ice packs up to $10; flashlights and lanterns costing $20 or less; a gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less; batteries, coolers and first-aid kits costing $30 or less; radios and tarps costing $50 or less; and generators costing $750 or less.

According to Florida Tax Watch, a sales tax holiday makes it more likely Floridians will prepare for a hurricane, especially after last hurricane season.

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