By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami/NSF) — It’s here. It’s June first and that means it’s the official start of the six-month Atlantic hurricane season, with experts predicting an above-average year for storms.

Nobody knows for sure what will happen. Chances are, things will be relatively quiet until August. Then, as shown by the August landfalls of Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricane Charley in 2004, all bets are off.

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Even if Florida avoids a direct hit this year, that doesn’t mean it will be spared damage. Just ask the folks in Pensacola whose lives were upended in 2020 by Hurricane Sally, which made landfall across the border in Alabama.

Emergency management officials try to drive home the point that it is never too early to prepare. Florida started a 10-day tax “holiday” on May 28 which allows shoppers to avoid paying sales taxes as they buy hurricane-season supplies and equipment ranging from batteries to generators.

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On May 14, President Joe Biden announced that $1 billion is being made available to states, territories, tribes and rural communities for what he said is typically the busiest time of the year for disasters in America: hurricane season in the South and East and fire season out West.

“Last year, as you all know, we faced the most named storms on record,” Biden said. “Seven out of the 30 named storms alone claimed 86 lives and caused more than $40 billion in damage. This year, NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is focusing on another severe season, perhaps — and God willing — not as bad as 2020, but still quite bad. We all know that these storms are coming.  And we’re going to be prepared; we have to be ready.”

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