June 1 marks the official beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season and with a prediction of an above-normal number of hurricanes this year, Virginia residents are being urged to prepare for the possibility of storms.
The National Weather Service has issued its official forecast for the 6 month long season and is predicting the following for 2011:
- 12 to 18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which:
- 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including:
- 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)
Each of these ranges has a 70 percent likelihood, and indicate that activity will exceed the seasonal average of 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major hurricanes.
To coincide with the approaching storm season, residents in the Commonwealth can purchase many safety items tax free by taking advantage of Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday from May 25-31. The annual event provides citizens an opportunity to buy what they need to prepare for possible tropical systems without having to pay sales tax. During the tax holiday, items like batteries, flashlights, bottled water, and first aid kits, as well as certain bigger-ticket items like generators priced at $1,000 or less, will be exempt from the 5 percent state and local sales tax.
Retailers may also choose to pay the sales tax themselves on any nonexempt items and pass the 5 percent savings onto their customers. For a full list of eligible products, answers to frequently asked questions and guidelines for consumers and retailers, go to www.tax.virginia.gov and click on the “Sales Tax Holiday” logo at the top of the page.
While the first hurricane of the season may be months away, it’s never too early to prepare and for a limited time in the state of Virginia you can save a little cash while you do.