With the start of hurricane season just days away, now is the time to begin preparations ahead of what’s expected to be an active season.
An added incentive is a 10-day tax holiday on all hurricane supplies purchased in Florida. The tax-free period will begin Friday and run until June 6, excluding Floridians from all sales tax on certain hurricane-related purchases.
The tax holiday was officially signed into effect on May 21 by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The purpose is to encourage Floridians to prepare for the oncoming season and that it’s expected to save residents approximately $10.5 million on purchases, according to a news release.
So, what items qualify as tax free?
According to the Governor’s Office, included in the tax holiday are flashlights under $40, batteries less than $50, tarps and wood panels under $100 and generators less than $1,000. Also included will be reusable ice — such as freezable ice or cooler packs — up to $20, “self-powered light sources” up to $40, fuel containers up to $50 and coolers up to $60.
Floridians were able to dodge a majority of the 30 named storms that formed last hurricane season. Still, Hurricane Sally devastated the Panhandle and Tropical Storm Eta caused flooding in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
Colorado State University predicts there will be 17 named storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes in 2021. The university also predicts there is a 45 percent chance a major hurricane will strike Florida or the East Coast this year, and there’s a 44 percent chance of landfall anywhere from the Florida Panhandle to Texas along the Gulf Coast.
Hurricane season begins June 1, peaks in September and ends on Nov. 30 each year. Though some storms have been forming early - like Tropical Storm Ana earlier this month.
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2021 Tampa Bay Times hurricane guide
IT’S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: Seven hurricane myths that need to go away
BACK-UP YOUR DATA: Protect your data, documents and photos
BUILD YOUR HURRICANE KIT: Gear up — and mask up — before the storm hits
PROTECT YOUR PETS: Here’s how to keep your pets as safe as you
NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter