MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s June 1, the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season and Floridians are about to get busy buying hurricane supplies tax-free.
Friday is the start of the state’s seven-day tax holiday on storm supplies. The tax-free deals last through Thursday June 7,
During that period, state and local sales taxes will not be charged on batteries, gas containers, flashlights, and portable generators costing $750 or less.
Taxes will also not be charged on coolers, reusable ice packs, tarps, and battery-powered radios.
Legislators enacted the sales tax holiday to encourage residents to get ready for this year’s hurricane season. Hurricane Irma ripped through the state in late September and was blamed for widespread power outages and at least 84 deaths.
Gov. Rick Scott wanted three week-long tax holidays for storm supplies but legislators opted for only one.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released what it considered an outlook for a slightly above-average hurricane season, which means 10 to 16 named storms, of which five to nine are expected to reach hurricane status.
The busy 2017 season saw 17 named storms, of which 10 became hurricanes, with six reaching the major storm status.
Mark Wool, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Tallahassee office, said the pre-season outlook is intended to serve as reminder that people need to do storm planning.
“You want to be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours. You want to have non-perishable food items. Batteries. Battery-operated flashlights and radios. You want to make sure you’ve got a first-aid kit. Enough prescription medications to get through the event,” Wool said. “Some of the most likely outcomes in these things, especially around here, is a power outage that can last a substantial amount of time.”