|Date:||June 01, 2017|
ATTENTION, FLORIDIANS: HURRICANE SEASON STARTS NOW
The Sunshine State’s 11-year storm free streak ended in 2016, when two storms — Hurricane Hermine and Hurricane Matthew — swept through the state. Hermine, a Category 1 storm, hit Florida in September, becoming the first hurricane make landfall in Florida since 2005.
A month later, Hurricane Matthew snaked its way up the state’s East Coast. While it never made landfall in Florida, the strong storm caused extensive damage in Florida, including washing out 1.3 miles ofA1A coastal byway in Flagler County.
season was the most active since 2012. And it served as a wake-up call for Floridians, especially since forecasters are calling for another active season.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast calls for 11 to 17 named storms, with five to nine hurricanes. Two to four of those hurricanes are expected to be major storms, with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.
Florida officials aren’t taking any risks, encouraging residents to get a put a plan in place and stock up on supplies — just in case.
“Preliminary forecasts point to an active hurricane season this year,” said Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in a statement Wednesday. “It’s crucial that Floridians plan early to protect their families and homes this hurricane season.”
Need to stock up on supplies? You’re in luck. Gov. Rick Scott OK’d a three-day, disaster preparedness sales tax holiday as part of a wide-ranging tax cut plan he signed into law last week.
The 2017 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday runs from June 2 through June 4. During the three-day window, items like flashlights, batteries, coolers, and portable generators are tax-exempt. The sales tax holiday is estimated to save Floridians $4.5 million.
Once you’ve got the supplies, it’s time to make sure you have all of your insurance documents in order. Make sure to scratch down the state’s toll-free insurance helpline number, which is staffed by Department of Financial Services staff and can connect Floridians to insurance experts who can help file insurance claims and better understand their claims.
Now that all that is covered, we do have one question: Did Rep. Charlie Crist get his prayer note asking God to “protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties” to the Western Wall this year? Not that we’re superstitious, but 2016 was the first year since 2007 that he was unable to send his note before the start of hurricane season.
— Assignment editors: Gov. Scott and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will kick off the 2017 hurricane season with a press conference at 11 a.m. at the National Hurricane Center, 11691 SW 17th Street in Miami. Credentialed media planning to attend must RSVP to email@example.com before 8 a.m. On the day of the event, media must arrive no later than 10:15 a.m. for security purposes. Parking is located on the east side of the building with signage “NOAA Conference Parking.”
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