With hurricane season looming, the time to prepare is now

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Hurricane season starts June 1.

Some people may sick of the disaster preparedness messaging they endured the last eight weeks from coronavirus, but like or not, the time to prepare for hurricane season is now, said FOX 35 meteorologist Jayme King.

“I’ve seen people on social media at the mention of hurricane season get upset and start saying, ‘Oh, stop fear-mongering and let us just deal with COVID,’” King said. “I get it. I understand our viewers and readers may be frustrated but you need to remember that (hurricane season) is right around the corner, and they need to prepare.”

The start of hurricane season is on June 1, but the chance of an early storm is always present and has been a tradition of the last five years, which all experienced tropical development before the start of the season.

Last year Subtropical storm Andrea formed on May 20 between Florida’s east coast and the Bahamas. The storm peaked at 40 mph before dissipating on May 21.

While it never made landfall, Andrea served as a reminder to prepare early, because anything can happen, King said.

“It’s really been a different kind of year. I haven’t seen any of the typical ramp up for hurricane season. No media push,” King said. “I usually post the storm names for 2020, but I don’t like to freak people out and go out and say it’s going to be a hyperactive season … The song remains the same. You got to prepare. Make sure your supply kit is ready, and if you live in an evacuation zone, make sure you have an evacuation plan.”

Luckily for those looking to get their supply kit ready, Florida’s Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is right around the corner.

Floridians will be able to take advantage of the tax free sales starting May 29 and lasting to June 4, during which qualifying items related to disaster preparedness will be exempt from sales tax, according to the Florida Department of Revenue.

The list of qualifying items has not yet been posted, but in previous years tax-exempt items included commodities such as batteries, flashlights, coolers, radios and generators.

This year, Accuweather meteorologists are predicting an above-average year in tropical production and suggesting 14 to 18 named storms. The average hurricane season has about 12 named storms, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

But Accuweather meteorologists believe there could be about seven to nine hurricanes developed based on expected conditions — about two to four of them could become major hurricanes with maximum wind speeds greater than 130 mph.

While tarot cards aren’t likely to show meteorologists the Atlantic’s future until they’ve already blown away from an approaching storm, meteorologists suspect the majority of tropical activity begin in August.

With low predicted wind sheer and high surface level temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic’s main development region; which stretches from the Caribbean to the waters of South America and over to the coast of west Africa, strong tropical development is expected.

“Most Floridians know how to prepare, but we’ve got new people coming in every week,” King said. “It’s one of those deals where you have to account for a lot and hope for things to go nice and smooth.”


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